Google adds browser playback to video service

Google has enhanced its video search service, eliminating the need to download software to play back videos.

Google has improved its Google Video service by eliminating the need for users to download software to play back videos, the California-based company announced Monday.

The service's videos now play within a Web browser without the need for additional software, said Peter Chane, senior business product manager for Google Video.

Moreover, the previously Windows-only play-back service is now available to users whose PCs run the Linux and Mac OS operating systems.

Other enhancements to the service include a larger and resizable viewing window, and more playback controls, such as pause, skip back, skip forward and volume. Also new is the availability of 10-second video previews that can be played on the search results page.

Google also announced that between Monday and Thursday of this week, visitors to Google Video (http://video.google.com) will be able to view the series premiere of the UPN television network's "Everybody Hates Chris" show.

During those four days, Google Video will be the only place on the Web where the episode will be available in its entirety, Shane said. "We're working with all sorts of owners of video content to help them bring their content online," he said. "You'll see more high-quality video content on Google Video in months to come."

Google launched Google Video in January of this year, and the service was deemed as underwhelming by many in part because it didn't feature any actual videos to play back. What it did feature were transcript excerpts from TV, along with still photos from the video broadcasts, as well other complementary information about the programs. The indexed information also was limited to some television shows.

This lack of viewable content made it pale in comparison with existing multimedia search engines from competitors Blinkx, America Online and Yahoo. However, Google has been improving its video service. The company opened the service to allow anyone, from individual amateurs to television and movie producers, to submit video for inclusion in Google Video. It also made actual video viewable on the service.

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