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April 23, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Days after Google Video announced the impending death of Google Video, prompting jscott to start archiving as many videos as the Archive team could and a subsequent Metafilter post on the best of Google Video, it turns out that Google has relented and removed the deadline. It will also be migrating the videos over to Youtube.
posted by titantoppler (33 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aw-shucks Google, that's mighty kind of you.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:02 AM on April 23, 2011


This Google Video ... it migrates?!
This is very good news.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:05 AM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kinda feel bad for jscott having put in all that work. The least they could have done would be to coordinate with Archive teams earlier to just FedEx them the data.
posted by odinsdream at 9:10 AM on April 23, 2011


The internet was like a tiny mosquito buzzing in Google's ear, "don't be evil, don't be evil..."
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:11 AM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I still feel better knowing they're backed up on archive.org.
posted by MrFTBN at 9:12 AM on April 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


It's great they reversed their incomprehensible decision, but did Google really not think this through when they announced the termination two weeks ago?
posted by Nelson at 9:16 AM on April 23, 2011


did Google really not think this through when they announced the termination two weeks ago?

I think they were just hoping no one would care.
posted by Harpocrates at 9:17 AM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The internet was like a tiny mosquito buzzing in Google's ear, "don't be evil, don't be evil..." posted b

As much as I approve of the decision, the six words that probably made the difference werea actually "if we migrate, we keep money."

Which seems like it would have been just as obvious two weeks ago.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:25 AM on April 23, 2011


I'm angry they didn't migrate Youtube to Google Video.
posted by pashdown at 9:44 AM on April 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Legal put together a solid strategy.
posted by penduluum at 10:00 AM on April 23, 2011


Much thanks to the Archive Team & jscott though for doing the archiving. One never knows.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:08 AM on April 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not an archivist, but I definitely feel for them. Trying to put together sensible policies for something as confusing and shifting as the Internet must be infuriating.
posted by codacorolla at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2011


Most of the things I want to say about this would be "damning with faint praise."

So I'll chill out and say I'm glad they gave this a little more thought. See also: Pages must live forever.
posted by artlung at 10:19 AM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's great they reversed their incomprehensible decision, but did Google really not think this through when they announced the termination two weeks ago?
posted by Nelson at 9:16 AM on April 23 [+] [!]


There isn't The Google making decisions, incomprehensible or otherwise.

When you are that huge, there is more than one path "out the door" when it comes to product decisions. Some of those paths are greased with rationales and misjudgments. The more paths out the more likely that happens more often.

I'm sure there were plenty of folks at Google who banging their heads against tables and walls trying to prevent the original decision. They just weren't loud enough to block that path.
posted by victors at 10:23 AM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess I still don't quite understand what Google has to lose by just keeping Google Video in place intact as it has stood since submissions were closed a few years ago. Are they really that short on storage space that they have to reuse the GV harddrives? Was GV really cannibalizing so much traffic from YouTube that the reduced revenue could be felt in the ocean of $86million a day they have coming in? Was GV using so much bandwidth that it was creating a serious hit to Google's bottom line when it came to network fees?

It just seems like a strange decision all around. The company who should know better than anyone else about how moving and removing bits of the internet affects the quality of the experience just seems like they're taking a huge dump on everyone with this. Even under these revised rules, all GV links ever made on the internet will be dead soon, and most of them will have no pointers to the migrated content (as far as I can tell).
posted by hippybear at 10:28 AM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling Google just hated the idea of the Archive team being heroes on this, and is trying to misdirect us from seeing that that is, in fact, what they are and always have been.

Google is evil.
posted by koeselitz at 10:52 AM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling Google just hated the idea of the Archive team being heroes on this, and is trying to misdirect us from seeing that that is, in fact, what they are and always have been.

Google is evil.


I sort of agree. Google's big thing is appearing like a public service. They want to be the library of the Internet, but the fact is that they're first and foremost a business. The advances that they make are advances in selling ads and selling for-pay services. They aren't in it for you, you're just the eyeballs that they need to make money. In the process of being those eye-balls (and, increasingly, eye-balls affixed to a bundle of useful marketing facts) you get a service.

Google isn't evil, exactly, they're just dishonest. Google Video shutting down was probably a cost-effective strategy decision from their accountants. A public archive, being a public service, would rarely make a decision like that, since they're a public service and not a business. Google pretends to be a public service, but really shows how much of a business it is when it makes choices like shutting down Google Videos without migrating the content.

It's good for business for Google to appear as non-commercial, or as transparently commercial as possible. It sells ads and builds trust, which is what you should have in the company that acts as the information gateway to the Internet. But the truth is more complicated, and I think my main problem with Google comes within those complications.
posted by codacorolla at 10:59 AM on April 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I guess I still don't quite understand what Google has to lose by just keeping Google Video in place intact

Well, to be perfectly honest, it doesn't run itself. I mean, it sort of does, but it doesn't. As soon as you commit to having a product like this live you're committed to non-zero uptime and there are management expenses associated with that, not the least of which is being the most! exciting! company! to work for only you have this little backwater that somebody gets assigned to. So it costs dollars and man-hours and brain cells and morale, and it doesn't monetize anyhow.

I didn't object to them closing it, just with the PHB uninterest in migration to their obviously viable YouTube product. I don't know why they didn't cook up a migration path years -- years -- ago. But Google tends to operate much on a fail forward fast mentality and the litter in their path is prodigious.
posted by dhartung at 11:01 AM on April 23, 2011


When you are that huge, there is more than one path "out the door" when it comes to product decisions.

Yeah, but a decision like shutting down Google Video only has one of a handful of possible decision makers. And one of them just became CEO and is on a mission to streamline the company.

Shutting down Google Video makes sense. Not offering a migration path for the content didn't make sense to me. My guess is the Google Video shutdown has been pending for a long time and the folks involved day to day in operations were dragging their feet and never built a migration tool. Maybe the hammer finally came down and the Video team didn't have their act together to react quick enough. Now they get a reprieve.

I had my own backwater project at Google that was later shut down. The process is not particularly tidy. I'm not sure it could be.
posted by Nelson at 11:57 AM on April 23, 2011


YAYY!
posted by nickyskye at 12:24 PM on April 23, 2011


I had my own backwater project at Google that was later shut down. The process is not particularly tidy. I'm not sure it could be.

Was it Notebook? Could you convince them to bring that back next?
posted by inigo2 at 12:57 PM on April 23, 2011


Anyone else wondering if this wasn't the plan all along? It did seem a bit ridiculous that the entity with probably the most storage space in the known internet that also owns probably the largest online video content provider couldn't find a place for videos from its own second rate online video content provider.

That or the guy in charge of Google Video was an asshole and pissed off the wrong Acting Associate Business Systems Development Analyst who in turn wrote some interesting queries that made it seem like shutting the whole thing down was the right thing to do - which decision was soon overturned by Marketing, who smelled an opportunity for Google to seem good again.

I imagine most of us have worked in bureaucracies before. We know how it works, we just don't always think it happens in other companies/agencies/departments.
posted by doublehappy at 1:48 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone else wondering if this wasn't the plan all along?

I'm not. I think when Larry ascended they decided to simplify and didn't really put much thought into it. They've been busy pushing out their Groupon clone, after all, so you can see where their priorites lie.

Searching on Google these days is pretty much identical to AltaVista in 1999, Google has jumped the shark and for the last year I've been increasingly looking for a) alternatives; and b) reasons not to integrate Google even more into my life. "Don't be evil" has long been a calculated misdirection, maybe they should take seriously their new goal of being "more like a startup," by recasting their motto as "don't be lame."
posted by rhizome at 3:22 PM on April 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I kinda feel bad for jscott having put in all that work.

Well, Archiveteam seems ok with it:

Google Cries Uncle

In response to the persistent criticism and contacts from users, Google Video (technically, YouTube, as the engineers were now part of YouTube) announced that they were removing the deletion date of April 29th, adding a "Migrate to Youtube" function which would push videos to a linked YouTube account (without the time limit restriction) and intending to automatically transition the full back catalog of videos into YouTube. Meanwhile, they have said they will not be removing any user data, whatsoever. A complete victory!

Archiveteam and Archive.org continue to download Google Videos, of course, but at a much slower rate and without pulling in dozens of people.


It seems clear that Archiveteam deserves much if not all of the credit here, and the egg on Google's face is now a matter of record. It's truly hilariously stupid of Google not to have figured out this more friendly and completely obvious solution from the start, instead of setting a one-month (!) deadline while offering no help whatsoever for easy migration to the other fucking platform they themselves owned. What a dumb cock-up.

Anyone else wondering if this wasn't the plan all along?

Nah, organizational stupidity and a near-complete lack of concern in key decision-makers about helping users archive their old Google Video content is the much simpler and almost certainly more accurate explanation. Thanks again to the Archive Team for showing Google how folks who actually give a shit about Internet history handle stuff like this.
posted by mediareport at 3:49 PM on April 23, 2011


Google is evil.

Reminds me of the saying: "Don't put down to malice what can be blamed on incompetence". For a company that's hiring 5000 people a year, and fighting a multifront war with other tech behemoths, the number of balls being juggled behind the corporate walls is probably off the charts. The chance that one of those balls getting dropped is non-trivial.
posted by storybored at 6:44 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, to be perfectly honest, it doesn't run itself. I mean, it sort of does, but it doesn't

I figured it out!
Google = SkyNet!!
posted by XhaustedProphet at 9:35 PM on April 23, 2011


I kinda feel bad for jscott having put in all that work. The least they could have done would be to coordinate with Archive teams earlier to just FedEx them the data.

So, when the word came down (from about 15 e-mails, direct messages, you name it) about the whole Google Video deleting everything thing, my initial response was "well, huh". Mostly I was kind of sad at that loss but felt that two weeks meant it was basically impossible. (By the way, it really was.)

But as you know I'm working for the Internet Archive and the word came over to maybe take a chance at trying to get as much as possible, and to work with internal crawlers and Archive Team members willing to try the impossible. I said we were going to need a bigger boat. Within an hour or two, they gave me a couple test servers, and a pair of machines with 140 terabytes of space. Apiece.

So I brought this back to the Archive Team, and in no short notice one of the members got attention on Slashdot, as well as spreading the word to other high-profile locations, and we were absolutely overrun within volunteers. I wrote an initial script to rip Google Video entries out (it was based on the same thing we used to rip yahoo video), and we started to work on the downloading within 24 hours of the e-mail.

Within 48 hours, other members had written a distributed client-server setup, where new videos to download were assigned, and then downloaded videos reported. Within 4 days, most of the upload slots were filled with hundreds of gigabytes of files going into that 140 terabyte array.

So by the time Google announced that they were going to both keep the videos going, and were going to make it simple to migrate over the videos to YouTube (I did it for the 4 movies in my collection, seamlessly), Archive Team had downloaded 40% of Google Video. forty percent.

So now what? Well, the team members are still uploading the videos we got, and some have taken the Archive Team outlook seriously enough to keep downloading from Google Video anyway. Archive.org is going to continue the scraping of Google Video, and while it will go slower, the goal is to get it all, regardless, even if it's stored away.

So no, don't feel sorry for me. I got reminded I threw my lot in with the coolest goddamn archive in the planet and I love my fucking job. And I got reminded just how amazing Archive Team is, and the idea of Archive Team, when the chips are down and history is at risk.
posted by jscott at 10:18 PM on April 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


Oh, and I am definitely working with people to release the full list of nearly three million Google Video docids that were scraped by all parties, so researchers and others doing experiments can play with that data.
posted by jscott at 10:24 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The internet was like a tiny mosquito buzzing in Google's ear, "don't be evil, don't be evil..."

When that mosquito gets swatted, next time, what'll be left?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:10 PM on April 23, 2011


Google is amazing. But they need to hire Apple's marketing department.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:04 AM on April 24, 2011


by the time Google announced that they were going to both keep the videos going […] Archive Team had downloaded 40% of Google Video

Holy hell that is some excellent fucking work!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:08 AM on April 24, 2011


Hey, I love you Internet Archive, but I sent a letter to volunteer in NYC about two years ago but no one ever got back to me. I was very disappointed. I don't have a lot of technical skills, but I had a lot of time and enthusiasm and so I emailed whoever the volunteer coordinator was and either I'm not even useful as free labor or the email addresses listen on archive.org are out of date. Now I am way too busy to help you so good luck.
posted by fuq at 3:42 PM on April 24, 2011


Hey, I love you Internet Archive, but I sent a letter to volunteer in NYC about two years ago...

Sorry that no one got back to you :(

In 2008, NYPL closed the Donnell Library, which is where the Internet Archive was scanning books in NYC. Not a good answer of why no one got back to you, but things were a bit chaotic when IA had to move out.

There was a MeFi post about the Donnell Library closing with some incredible pictures of the shutdown, taken by an Internet Archive employee.

Although you are now busy, if anyone else is interested in being a volunteer archivist, check out jscott's Archive Team (no relation to Internet Archive). The Archive Team is crazy awesome!
posted by rajbot at 10:46 PM on April 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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