Google Opens ‘Video Store’

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Las Vegas -- Google Inc. (www.google.com) said Friday evening that it would get into the pay video business.

The search-engine giant announced the creation of “Google Video Store,” which put it in competition with a similar store run by Apple Computer Inc. that sells both music and videos.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company also announced the release of “Google Video Player,” which, in turn, put it in competition with media players for Web users from Microsoft Corp. and RealNetworks Inc.

Financially, the move is a more fundamental break for Google. In the past, the company has sold advertising to profit from the services it operates on the Web, such as a photo library known as “Picasa.” This is the first business where Google will collect fees.

Cofounder Larry Page said the great majority of payments collected will go to producers of the video content that gets sold.

The business will use a billing mechanism of Google's own making that will allow customers to either rent or buy videos online. The initial 3,000 titles on the store's shelves will include current hits from CBS, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Survivor. Each episode will cost $1.99.

The first titles also will include "cult" hits from CBS, such as My Three Sons, Star Trek and The Brady Bunch; National Basketball Association games 24 hours after they're done; Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons; and other fare.

CBS Corp. chairman Leslie Moonves called the event "a historic meeting of established and new media" and said there could be "no better exclamation point" to end the company's first week on its own. CBS split off from Viacom Inc. Jan. 1.

Page said Google's move into paid video -- which puts it in competition over the long haul with cable networks, satellite services and other suppliers of TV and movie programs -- was designed to create a "positive ecosystem'' for producers of video content worldwide.

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