[clug] Richard Stallmans presentation

Richard richard_c at tpg.com.au
Mon Jan 9 10:36:34 GMT 2006

Michael Still wrote:

> I've been thinking about Google Video [1] the last couple of days, and 
> I've come to the conclusion that services _such_as_ Google video that 
> take the hassle out of hosting extremely large files have the power to 
> change the world.

For all of Google's "do no evil" promises, they're still a for-profit 
enterprise, and until a not-for-profit enterprise attempts this sort of 
thing, then it can essentially be defined as a niche/flash-in-the-pan.

Google (or another for-profit provider) has to make back its costs from 
somewhere, and advertising (still the money spinner for non-retail web 
sites) is low margin (and I don't see too many other ways to make money 
from such a service). If the profit from advertising covered the cost of 
providing the download, then the service would not be lowering the 
barriers to entry very far; ergo there would be little benefit in 
getting Google to do the hosting (beyond using the 
by-then-commoditised-and-cheap-and-common-as-dirt streaming services 
from your ISP). Basically, it doesn't make commercial sense to give away 
something that costs money - if the dotcom flameouts taught us anything, 
then that had to be it.

The only reason Google can afford this sort of experiment is that it's 
still riding a dotcom valuation.

For now, this is kinda cool, but I'm not sure this is going to be 
genuinely revolutionary in any sense. "More" is required from the 
service providers in the longer term.


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