Wednesday, January 25, 2006

video.google.com, worse than previously thought

I attempted to purchase and download the "Kobe vs. Raptors" video on Google last night. It was a frustratingly bad experience and, in the end, resulted in three failed downloads of the video. It gets worse...

Let's start at the beginning. Upon trying to purchase a Google video, you must create an account and submit credit card information. There is no visible information about whether Google will store the credit card data or not for future purchases; in addition, there is no checkbox to control whether my credit card data persists on Google's servers. This is of particular concern because my Google Video Store account is the same account that I use for GMail and "personalized Google."

Once you enter this information, Google prompts you to "login and complete your purchase." The login requirement here might seem a bit redundant here but is typical of online stores attempting to protect their customers. However, what's not typical is after you submit your login/password, the next screen asks you to "login and complete your purchase." Um, OK, so I thought I just did that. I try again. Same result. And again.... argh! OK, well, luckily I had actually expected this as a friend had IM'd me earlier in the day and said he had the same problem. I asked "Are you using FireFox?" He replies, "Yes." I say, "Switch to IE." Unfortunately, I was already using IE -- so, what to do? I decide to close all of my IE windows, restart IE, and reopen the video store - which, of course, requires that I go through Google Video's horrible interface once again to find the video.

Finally, I get through the "login and complete your purchase" screen and then Google notifies me that I must download their "Google Video Player." I'm also informed that once the video player downloads, my video will begin downloading automatically. Sadly, Google uses a pop-up window to download the video player and Google Toolbar blocks such things. Now, the "download" screen has dissapeared and I'm left with no video player or video (though I just received my e-mail receipt so I know the transaction has gone through). Hmm, I must go back up through the interface to get to a screen with a download button.

Eventually, I get to a "manual download" area and am able to download the video player. I install it and click on "download video." This link opens the video player which begins to presumably download the video. Of course, this doesn't work either. The first attempt fails after like 13 retries. The second attempt downloads 45 megs of the video in 2 hours (note that I've downloaded every episode of the Office via the iTunes Music Store -- each episode is about 250 megs, which takes 5 minutes or so to download). The third attempt, which I start before going to bed, downloads 63 megs but then prompts me for my login information again -- however, I am now sound asleep and unaware that the download stopped. I wake up and note that the video is only up to 63 megs (around 12:33AM -- ironically went to bed at 12:15) and that a modal dialog in the Google video player is waiting for my login information. After filling out the dialog, the download does not restart.

I started my fourth attempt before I left for work -- let's hope that it will be completed by the time I return home.

3 comments:

T Scott Saponas said...

Google Video Sucks ***!

Kevin said...

Actually, I think Google video is great for finding high quality free stuff. When you use thier viewer to download a show, they give you the full resolution version (with surround sound, if applicable) and you can play it using any video player you want (I use VLC).

Anonymous said...

If you want to convert whatever you get from Google video to .avi format you can go here: http://www.tavisjohn.com/nuke/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=32