updated 03:15 pm EDT, Mon August 13, 2007
Google kills pay video
Sidestepping a public announcement, Google has informed customers individually of its decision to stop its paid video services later this week. In its mass e-mail, the company has explained that "to improve all Google services," download-to-own and download-to-rent videos purchased through Google Video will become unavailable as of August 15th. In addition to stopping new purchases, this will disable videos already bought in the past. To compensate Google is providing refunds, plus a $2 bonus to be spent at Google Checkout within the next 60 days.
The service never grabbed the public limelight, having been quickly dwarfed by the company's own YouTube acquisition, and better-publicized competitors such as Amazon Unbox and the Apple iTunes Store. In its last days, clips sold through Google Video became limited to episodes of Charlie Rose. It is unclear whether the decision is directly related Google's increasing involvement with Apple, which has Google co-founder Eric Schmidt on its board of directors, and has integrated YouTube into the iPhone and Apple TV.