A lot is being made in the high-tech press about Google pulling the plug on Google Video. The site itself isn't going the way of the dodo bird -- it's the download-to-rent/download-to-own feature Google has been fooling around with that will disappear starting tomorrow.
For those who haven't heard, users will no longer be able to rent or buy videos on Google Video, which the company launched early last year.
For consumers -- Google isn't saying how many signed up for the service -- who bought video after July 18, Google is providing cash refunds. Consumers who purchased video prior to July 18 will receive credits that can be used on the Google Checkout online payment service.
The sky isn't falling here. No one, not even Google, has figured out the ad-supported model for video. And it's not like the service won awards anyway.
Google spokesperson Gabriel Stricker told me Google and YouTube are looking into a number of ways to monetize online video content.
For example, the company is looking at pilot-testing Google's AdSense platform for video syndication and has been tinkering with running different ad formats on YouTube. Stricker called the results "very encouraging." Time will tell, but it's clear Google is focusing more on ad-supported revenue.
Businesses that grow as fast as Google have to sometimes phase out services they don't think are going to pan out. Why waste their engineers' valuable time? In short, it's one of the those tough business decisions that is probably pretty sound. It's also a warning that anything dubbed "experimental" can disappear at a moment's notice from the company's Web universe.
But it certainly isn't going to help Google in the customer satisfaction arena. Cutting off any service's food supply will help shave points off Google's share of the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index), where it lost some points, according to ForeSee Results.