The Google Video store launched yesterday, and I've been playing around with it a little. The content is getting better every day. For instance, it appears that The Charlie Rose Show is addding a couple hundred previously-broadcast hourly interviews a day. I use my Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to record current shows, but, when complete, the store will contain more than a decade of the interviews on demand -- thousands of hours of video -- at a reasonable price of $1 per hour. However, besides having a large amount of content and a well thought-out concept of keeping content-owners happy (variable pricing, easy uploading, free bandwidth, etc.), the store and video player -- what Google's customers are to use -- are disappointingly "beta."
In the store, you can't sort the videos by original broadcast date and therefore can't find the latest shows. The video player is very basic. If you are used to a full-featured media player, such as Zoom Player Professional, likely you will wonder why Google discarded years of thoughtful work by the A/V community. Perhaps Google has already implemented all of these options as an automatic thing rather than an explicit option, but there is no indication of this.
I have not had a chance to test fully the quality of the video, but what I have seen is low quality. HDNet has a couple of free clips on Google Video that Google has down-rez'd from beautiful high definition to what looks like ugly 480i. This is disappointing, considering that you already can download some programs in high definition from the HDNet web site through a small peer-to-peer applet (3.8 megabits per second consistent downloads). There do not appear to be options for a trade-off between available bandwidth, resolution, and how long the viewer is willing to wait for the program to download. For instance, I have a 8 megabit/second broadband connection, and I would like high definition video when available, so would be willing to wait a while for the program to download.
Overall, this appears to be the first Google "me-too" product. In short, so far, it's uninspired.