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YouTube introduces paid and free downloads

After years of trying to convince us that, no -- we really shouldn't want a way to watch YouTube content offline, the company has officially confirmed that they are rolling the ability to download YouTube videos. The program is still evolving, but right now, both free and paid downloads are available from a small list of providers.

I'm can't help but be struck by a sense of déjà vu . If you recall, the now defunct Google Video initially offered paid downloads -- it was an epic failure. I don't want to be too quick to judge, but unless YouTube implements some changes, like FAST, it is going to end the same way.

Here are the problems as I see it:
  • The partner channels testing paid downloads are, for lack of a better word, unimpressive. I'm sorry, but I really don't want to pay $0.99 for a math lesson, a so-called hacking lesson or to see a new media douchebag. I'm perfectly content to watch that content online if the alternative is paying.
  • If the free content from Stanford University is anything to go by, the downloaded quality isn't that great. If I'm going to pay for a download (or even take the time to download a 245 meg file of a free program), at least make it worth my while.
  • Again, the content selection thus far sucks. What's the use of promoting all this commercial content if there's no way any of it is going to be downloadable, since it appears everything has to be licensed either by the Creative Commons or public domain?
  • They hide the stuff you do purchase under Take a cue from Apple, make it easy to access your purchased content. Maybe put a link in the main YouTube menu.
  • It's unclear how many times you can download content and whatnot.
Those issues aside, I suppose it's cool that YouTube is finally allowing people to download content. Now, let's cue the flood of YouTube stars desperate to make a buck off of their unique sense of self.

Tags: downloads, google, google-video, paid downloads, PaidDownloads, youtube