Google has improved its Google Video service by eliminating the need for users to download software to play back videos, the Mountain View, California-based company has announced.
The service's videos now play within a Web browser without the need for additional software, says Peter Chane, senior business product manager for Google Video.
Moreover, the previously Windows-only playback 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 will be able to view the series premiere of the UPN television network's show Everybody Hates Chris.
During those four days, Google Video will be the only place on the Web where the episode will be available in its entirety, Chane says. "We're working with all sorts of owners of video content to help them bring their content online," he says. "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 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 only certain television shows.
Google Video's lack of viewable content made it pale in comparison with existing multimedia search engines from competitors America Online, Blinkx, and Yahoo. However, Google has been improving its video service. Along the way, the company has opened the service to allow anyone, from individual amateurs to television and movie producers, to submit video for inclusion in Google Video. It has also made actual video viewable on the service.