$1.65bn for YouTube – will Google now finally offer video search?

No, Google do not offer a video search service, don’t be blinded. Time and time again I have to explain that Google’s video.google.com is a video hosting service, not a horizontal video search service. They do not follow their own mission with Google video, but offer search only on their own collection of content, i.e. they offer vertical search and not search on “the world’s” video, which is what horizontal search is about.

And now they have acquired YouTube – btw: this was a really cheap deal, too, through a masterly financial stragey. But I diverge – I am not a market analyst, but a technologist. And I want to share what I see as an immense opportunity for Google in this deal.

Let me go back in history: Google started video.google.com because there was not enough video content on the Web and thus a dedicated video search engine didn’t make much sense. So they ran a dual strategy to get content on the Web: they made it simple for consumers to upload their content thus starting the wave of consumer-created (and consumer-mediated) content. And they mediated content from the old media industry to go online. This instantly put Google into the video hosting business.

Fast-forward a year and you find YouTube did a better job at providing consumers with a video hosting service. So, Google buys them. With what intention? To have a second video hosting business? Maybe… but to be quite honest, I have a different take on this.

This is the chance for Google to turn the Google brand away from video hosting and back to horizontal video search. With YouTube they have a channel to move their existing corporate customers and their upload users to a more successful hosting site. Then they can get their core brand back into search.

Bah – gotta get back to coding, so our company is ready for when the time comes!

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