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Google to start online video store

Google is planning to expand into two new fields -- an online video store and a computer maintenance service.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 16:11 IST

Google Inc said on Friday the company is expanding into two new fields with an online video store and a computer maintenance service, moves that mark stepped-up challenges to its biggest computer and media rivals, including Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo Inc.

Google Co-founder Larry Page said the video marketplace would offer free programming, low-cost rentals and outright purchases of premium entertainment and sports shows.

The second plan outlined by Page at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was a free offer to personal computer users of Microsoft Corp's Windows XP software to install and maintain the basic software, security and services on new and existing machines.

With the product, called Google Pack, the company is promising to help most users set up and maintain their machines in a matter of minutes rather than the hours that many computer users require to get going on a new PC.

"Google Pack is quite exciting," said Page during his keynote address at the show, "It's as easy as going to the Google home page."

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates used his own keynote speech here earlier this week to take the covers off many new consumer features of the next upgrade of the Windows desktop, known as Vista, due out later this year.

"This is a direct action to challenge Microsoft: Google is saying we can manage the browser and other elements of the computer desktop experience better than what you get now," said Forrester media and Internet analyst Josh Bernoff.

Specifically, Google said it will rent and sell television programs from CBS Corp. and the National Basketball Association. CBS plans to offer three current programs, including "Crime Scene Investigation," for rental a day after they originally air, priced at $1.99. Another 300 "classic" CBS shows will be offered for download and outright ownership for the same $1.99 fee.

Executives said the company would not announce plans to enter the computer business, denying rumours that Google would launch at the show a machine costing as little as $100.

First Published: Jan 07, 2006 15:11 IST