The Los Angeles Times has an interesting profile of the head of Google Video Store, Jennifer Feiken (though we could have done without the tidbit about her height increasing when she wears high-heeled boots — seriously, it’s 2006, people). While I found myself mildly interested in Feiken’s journey from the cutting room floor (an aborted role in Hairspray) to Silicon Valley, I was more interested in how Google will work its way into the brave new world of the new media.
Google has made a lot of bold moves in the media world, most notably with its Google Book Search/Print/Publish initiative (what is it, anyway?). And it’s not an overstatement to say they own the search engine world right now. Aggregating and cataloguing data is what they do best — it remains to be seen if they’re up to the task of selling content to the user. Our initial analysis indicates that Google has a long way to go — hiring an entertainment industry insider is a good first step, but this may be the time that Google needs to leverage other skills even more. First up: make it usable.
LAT describes Google’s initiative as an “online bazaar” and indicates that established media companies are facing the project with skepticism.
The service got a rocky start last week. It was launched three days late because of technical problems, and some users complained about glitches and a shortage of popular TV programming. For example, there were only one episode of CBS’ popular show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and fewer than a dozen music videos from Sony BMG Music Entertainment — two of Google’s major media partners.
Google also faces challenges from existing partnerships established by its competition, not to mention the fact that iTunes has set the bar very high: