For a company that has the mantra “don't be evil” as an integral part of its business philosophy, Google is certainly pushing the boundaries of it. While pulling the plug on its purchased download service may not be Satan’s work per se, it certainly must be making a few customers question the supposed benevolence of the search engine giant.
If you are one of the few who did actually use Google’s download-to-own/rent video service then your ownership of those videos is set to expire on the August 15th, such is the beauty of DRM.
The e-mail sent to Google purchasers (as posted on CNET) reads as follows:
As a valued Google user, we're contacting you with some important information about the videos you've purchased or rented from Google Video. In an effort to improve all Google services, we will no longer offer the ability to buy or rent videos for download from Google Video, ending the DTO/DTR (download-to-own/rent) program. This change will be effective August 15, 2007.
To fully account for the video purchases you made before July 18, 2007, we are providing you with a Google Checkout bonus for $2.00. Your bonus expires in 60 days, and you can use it at the stores listed here: http://www.google.com/checkout/signupwelcome.html. The minimum purchase amount must be equal to or greater than your bonus amount, before shipping and tax.
After August 15, 2007, you will no longer be able to view your purchased or rented videos.
If you have further questions or requests, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you for your continued support.
The Google Video Team
At this stage we're not sure exactly why Google is no longer able to offer this service, but we have asked it and if it deigns to get back to us, we'll let you know.
While the offer of a refund of sorts is a step in the right direction, it would be nice to think that Google could consider letting its so-called “valued” customers keep the content they paid for. Evil? Probably not, but possibly a step in the wrong direction.