Help with the Googlewood chapter

I’m a little stuck on teh chapter I’m writing for my book now: Googlewood, how movies, TV, and entertainment will change thanks to Google. I have plenty to say but I need one of those great surprising insights you all have (flattery will get me everywhere). So if you don’t mind, please help and share how entertainment can and will change in the Google age. As always, thanks!

  • As Google has moved into the realm of offering YouTube and Video, how long will it be before the site can stream live TV or offer movies for rent, much in the way that iTunes does? Furthermore, could we eventually see studios releasing new TV shows and movies through the Internet, as we have seen with some music artists (Radiohead for one).
    Another thing — could Google re-create the CNN scroll bar that we see on TV so that it Google news stories would scroll above the taskbar on the computer with clickable links to stories? That’d easily provide anyone with the Internet immediate access to breaking stories.
    Not sure how insightful this is, but it’s a thought.

  • Miavoson

    Google will make advertisiers and media professional understand that text, sound, image and video can all fit and merge in a single place. The open (vs. à-la-FB) web.

    Google is working to make this merge easy with mahsups, platforms and APIs (maps, earth, youtube… lively?).

    Google remains neutral about content and offer their technologies to bring audience and best creators/advertisers together.

    Google will always have few steps ahead competitors on innovations, which lets them anticipate how the merge will run.

    If people want to watch movie together, Google will add longer video and chat features to youtube.
    If people want to visit the web as we do IRL (and if there’s no efficient solution), they’ll diggle Google.
    If people love to read e-paper, they’ll release a special version of Google Reader with ads, and a store for readings (either blogs, books or knols).
    If people prefer “breaking news” over “diverse sources”, they’ll add a special section in Google News.

    Google is about technologies and prospective. Media are about content creation. If media can’t understand that, they’ll fight and lose their war (not Google’s one). If they consider smartly their creation business (which is FIRST what their customers want from them), they’ll take advantage of all the innovations provided almost freely by Google and their followers. At least, media who will first catch that will win and teach how to play nice with us.

  • I’m thinking about the crossover layering Google is exploring. GPS of dogs escaped from owner’s yards on top of maps and the like.

    TV and movies with the ability to add annotations (like on YouTube now) so that everyone (or your friends) can see. Real-time on screen discussion on top of shows. (I know MTV does this with mobile texts.) Click on a bookcase in a movie, see the books on the shelf, buy what Bruce Wayne just read. Click on a bra strap, don’t just fantasize about your girl in Giselle’s underthings, buy them (well not her’s really)! Click on commercials (yeah they’d be there still, just specific to your demographic) and talk with the scheduler at the termite exterminator because your chair just crumbled.

    Actually, not click, how about speak! Google’s taking over phones too, right? Stick a webcam on top of your monitor/TV and the studios and networks can use you!

    And of course all the vast depth and breadth of infodatabase search that Google has mastered accessible everywhere and everywhen.


  • Joebo

    This could be happening already but Google has the power to take over Nielsen research/ratings business by providing accurate data about consumers habits.

  • Jeff, I think your answer can be found within your question. All writers need stimulus. Google is the most gigantic stimulus machine the world has ever seen.

    Trying to write a convincing break-up scene, or argument between friends, or intense family or business struggle, or a man trying to convince a woman to do something she doesn’t want to do?

    Google it, and you can read 1,000 real-world examples that are surprising in the way only reality can be surprising. As a bonus, many of these examples will be blogs that offer blow-by-blow sample dialogue.

    Need convincing details for a scene of a novel set in Barcelona? Try Google images and you’ll find 1,000 photos that capture a moment. The subtly imprecise arrangement of petit fours at Can Gaig; the grid of neon LEDs and shutters at the at the Torre Agbar; the middle-aged tourist (odd: why is she wearing that red scarf in summer?) pretending not to stare at the young couple embracing on Las Ramblas.

    In short, everything a writer needs — fact-checking, scenarios, plot twists, implausible truths, character names, imagery — are all available instantly 24/7/365 through Google. A writer struck with writer’s block need only surf and collect random bits of all of these and wait for the story to tell itself.

    How will Google change entertainment? It will make it richer and better because writers will have access to an enormous wealth of documentary reportage about real-life.

  • Jeff Here are two areas that I am seeing on Google – I am a fan of war documentaries – GD Houston had nearly 1,000 vids covering all the best of what is available. Last month he was shut down. Now you don’t have to find war interesting but Houston has a model. By picking a very specialized are – he built huge traffic.

    YouTube(Google) are missing the point – they have not found a way to monetize YouTube – but GD did. The Niche.

    Second related area – Music. Much of the music is in the public domain so less controversial – but the same. 30 million Americans have sung in a choir. Why not the Choral Channel? I spend whole evenings exploring music on You Tube.

    My point? Stop fussing about rights etc. If there was the ultimate choral, war, wine, French cooking, English Countryside, Sailing, Cars channels hosted by people like GD in all fields – what traffic and what a focus – the long tail brought to life.

    Take this to movies – narrow the niche – host well and then harvest the community

  • Crawford

    Organizing the world’s info leads to expectation that all the world’s info is readily available, accessible, searchable. As a result, folks of the world will come to expect the same of audio and video formats. Hence, there should be a substantial rise in the opening up of archives and new channels for documentaries, citizen news uploads, raw/mini shorts, rants, slams, mashups, whathaveyou. The Genie is out of the Google. We as consumers now expect access. It will impact every form and function.

    Yabba Dabba Do!

  • Liz

    I wasn’t convinced that Google would have any effect on entertainment production and distribution but some of these responses have me considering otherwise. I do think that online video services (Hulu, Veoh, Seesmic, etc.) are likely to have a bigger effect on film/video distribution as well as audience testing/measuring than Google will…unless Google swallows them all up!

  • As always, thank you, friends. Pardon the image here, but you’re my intellectual dietary fiber.

  • Google/YouTube will become the world’s ubiquitous “broadcaster” and has a warchest to make content deals with everyone. As wireless devices, made by Apple and others, allow me to transmit streamed content from my laptop to my den’s flatscreen, I have disintermediated networks and cablecos, except for my Internet linkup.

    This overriding template is apparent through interlocking directorships: Google’s Eric Schmidt is on Apple’s board and Jobs is on Disney’s (because he sold his animation outfit and has a huge swak of stock).

    So Google buys all the content that’s for sale and YouTube becomes the world’s biggest broadcast network.

    Just a guess.

  • Brian O’Connell

    Will Googlewood be subject to mob censorship like YouTube and Blogger are? Will Google continue to look the other way? The bigger the slice of the pie Google takes, the easier it will be for this to happen.

  • If any idiot exec at a movie studio would have polled the Googleverse first, the idea of trying of ‘re-imagining’ “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” would have been beaten to death before it even made it to the crib.

    If they want to know what will sell, HELLO! We’re here. Just ask us.

  • Tree Frog

    Google and the rest of the Internet crowd is going to either kill Hollywood or make it nicer.

    Why put up with asshole studio idiots and accountants ruining your creation when you can go online and find not only cheaper, faster distribution, but also like-minded people willing and able to help you produce good or great art?

    Look at Tucker Max and Rudius Media for a harbinger of what is to come.

  • Google increases a trend away from entertainment based on spectacle and towards self-amusement by stringing together smaller nuggets of content, some that weren’t even conceived as entertainment. As an example, last night I googled for information on a song from a documentary soundtrack, and stumbled into a corner of YouTube where mandolin players were sharing tunes and licks they had invented or ‘reverse engineered’ by ear. I doubt I’ll go back there again, but I had an entertaining 20 minutes or so exploring a little corner of the net I’d never have known about otherwise.

    YouTube communities and LOLcats aren’t going to take down the likes of The Dark Knight or Wall-E, but they are digging away at the marginal products of Hollywood: the rerun, the DVD, the people journalism that might otherwise take the attention now diverted and fragmented onto the net. Can the studios find some way to take advantage and monetize this attention flow? Experience with the music labels suggests that many decades in command of a distribution scarcity system is fatally debilitating to the ability to adapt.

    Contra Diane above, if Google is smart it will own NO content and make no preferential commitments to distribution. I have a fair amount of confidence that this is what will actually happen. Remember that Google exists because its founders and a few funders had the gumption to fly straight into the face of then-conventional wisdom that you had to have a ‘portal’ with loads of proprietary content to succeed. That model destroyed Excite and crippled Yahoo. Google stripped its home page down to a single interaction, and prospered. That kind of lesson – that content is NOT king – gets baked very deeply into a corporate genome.

  • Perhaps I’ll go to the live theater and be able to engage in interactive text messaging (using my Google-branded cell phone) with the director, fellow audience members, while the actors perform. Above the stage will be a score board displaying, in real-time, selected audience observations and ratings (1-10). Actors will be trained to ignore audience reactions that have no bearing to events on the stage. Theater will obviously need these innovations to appeal to our interactive lifestyle. It’s not the art that’s gone bad, it’s the audience.

  • I dearly want to see Google provide a venue for small indie films. As a film buff I find it exasperating that there’s not yet an affordable distribution channel for these obscure, often impossible to buy or even rent, flicks. When any filmmaker, no matter how poor and obscure, can make his or her movie available for download direct to viewers I predict the film universe will change radically.

  • I think a key question in relation to Google and Hollywood is ‘what are they going to do with YouTube’?

    If we compare filmed entertainment to the music industry, then YouTube could potentially be a Napster (a pioneering site sued into oblivion) or an iTunes (a platform that dramatically reshapes the industry). Whether Google lose, settle or win the Viacom lawsuit, the result will have a major impact on how filmed entertainment is made and distributed.

    Given how radically Google has reshaped the web (in a similar way to Microsoft once dominated the PC) why don’t they create a viable alternative to Hollywood? A ‘Googlewood’ (as your chapter is called) could be a place where a new generation of filmmakers upload their shorts and features to YouTube and share in the profits.

    Perhaps Google can benefit from the anger and uncertainty the big unions (WGA, SAG) feel about the Hollywood system. By embracing new and original content and doing fair deals on copyrighted material (the later is a crucial issue) they could capitalise on the problems the traditional system is going through.

    Their Screening Room project seems like a small but significant step in this direction ( Imagine an alternative Hollywood without the opaque accounting, ballooning budgets and instead one with an electronic distribution system minus cans of celluloid and plastic discs being mailed around the world to stores.

    I don’t think this will happen overnight and cinemas & DVDs still have a lot of life left in them, but if there is one company in a position to become a truly radical media platform, then it has to be Google.

  • Tree Frog

    Tim Oren: Content IS king. Google’s content is connecting people to what they’re looking for. They deliver that on a consistent basis.

    You can have the spiffiest site in existence, but if it doesn’t have something that genuinely draws people in, it’ll fail. Look at the flop of the Blue Collar Or Die website: they hired something like 15 people, threw up a bunch of outtakes and expected it to be a cash-printing machine.

  • Mike G

    Um, what does Google have to do with my big screen TV? What does it have to do with the local multiplex? What does it have to do with the Imax theater showing The Dark Knight?

    Not everything affects everything. Google isn’t going to fix my teeth, either.

  • Yes, Mike, but they might help you find a better dentist or store your dental records for easy portability between dentists. Who knows, your current dentist might already use Google search to access their internal records!

    “It’s all about the information!” – Sneakers


  • This is old news by now, but I assume you’ve already taken a look at the straight-to-web productions such as Dr. Horrible and The Guild? Pretty entertaining stuff.