An interesting collection of news about Google projects today.
- As the new owner of YouTube, Google will introduce scrolling advertisements to YouTube videos today. They promise the ads will be unobtrusive, nearly-transparent banners that will appear at the bottom of videos for only 10 seconds.
- Google went into the online video business last year, selling DRM-laden TV shows. The business wasn’t profitable so Google announced a few days ago that the web site would be shuttered and all downloaded Google videos would stop playing. (When the licensing server is turned off, DRM-infected files can no longer be played – a rude introduction to DRM for people who thought that purchasing a video actually gave them something that would last. It’s kind of like what happens to people whose computers crash without backups of their iTunes libraries.) Google initially offered refunds to video purchasers through its Google Checkout service, which made people unhappy who wanted real money instead. Google quickly announced that it is going to credit back the purchases onto people’s credit cards – and the Google Checkout credits will be a lovely gift, the licensing servers will stay plugged in for six months, and gosh darn, it’s all just a silly misunderstanding.
- Google Maps is making code freely available to add a fully functional Google map to any website – clickable, draggable, zoomable. Expect the maps on business websites to improve considerably.
- Google Earth has added a service for scanning the sky and zooming around in images of 100 million stars and 200 million galaxies.