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Google buys YouTube

October 10th, 2006 at 02:22pm

On the weekend I reported that Google were in talks to buy YouTube, and today I can happily say that Google have bought YouTube for USD$1.65 Billion (a bit over AUD$ 2 Billion).

Many industry experts said that Google would never buy YouTube because of the sheer volume of copyright infringing videos on there, but as I pointed out on the weekend (and again on the John Stanley afternoon show on 2CC and 2UE today) Google are very well placed to handle these copyright concerns as they already have their own competing video service and even a highly controversial book scanning program.

So, where to from here for Google Video and YouTube? I would expect a merger over the coming months, with Google hopefully implementing some of the good features of YouTube in the merged service, and not just moving all the videos over. There will be a no-signup period for a couple weeks when Google move YouTube over to Google Accounts, muchy like what happened when they bought Writely…and ultimately Google will ensure the success and profit of the merged video service by expanding their video sales syetem to all countries, not just the US.

I’m quite happy about this, because I no longer have to upload videos to both services on the fear that one will fold, and I can be almost 100% certain that these videos will be there forever more.

Update 10/October/2006 @ 6:46pm: Video message from YouTube’s former owners:

End update


Entry Filed under: IT News

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  • 1. Colonel Moodus  |  October 10th, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    Is there Samuel Vision?! Where can we see?

  • 2. Clayton Northcutt  |  October 10th, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Quite happy? Is this really a good thing Samuel? It is in my opinion that the world and society need function beyond 1’s and 0’s, especially in this day and age of disconnectedness between persons. YouTube managed to enable it, and it’s could be under threat now. For my full and detailed opinion of this news, visit my blog, by clicking on my name above.

    Clayton Northcutt.

  • 3. Clayton Northcutt  |  October 10th, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    It, not it’s, in teh fourth line. Apologies.

  • 4. Clayton Northcutt  |  October 10th, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    *Sigh* And the not teh in the second-to-latest comment.

  • 5. Colonel Moodus  |  October 10th, 2006 at 6:39 pm

    I’m waiting for Gorden-Glasses(TM) (note hyphen!).

    I don’t know what will happen if you wear them. But they would resemble 3D glasse. Any ideas anyone?

  • 6. Samuel  |  October 10th, 2006 at 6:45 pm

    I can understand where you’re coming from here Clayton, but allow me to draw a comparison between Google buying YouTube and Google buying Writely. The latter has remained virtually unchanged since the acquisition some months ago, Google have continued to fix the beta bugs, and have moved Writely over to the Google Accounts system…other than that, not much, if anything, has changed.

    When Google bought Writely, there were a few mumblings on the Internet, but not much publicity in the real world, certainly not enough to prompt talkback radio hosts who had never heard of the acquired website to interview IT journalists about it.

    YouTube on the other hand is big news, both in the technology field and the financial field, and therefore Google are going to be under much more pressure to live up to expectations and not destroy the community which has grown on YouTube.

    To be perfectly honest, I think YouTube is the better site, and I think Google agree, and I also think that the talks took as long as they did simply because the owners of YouTube were concerned that if Google bought it, they might destroy it. I think everyone involved wants to make YouTube the best video and related content website that it possible can be, that may involve some pay-per-view programming, but I have no doubt that the vast majority of videos (and pretty much everything contributed by users) will remain free.

    At the very least, Google have the funds to handle YouTube making a loss for a while, and I’m sure they have plans for the future which will ensure the profitability of YouTube, and the continued excellent relationship YouTube has with its users.

    Perhaps I’m just optimistic, but I really don’t think YouTube’s owners would have sold the website to Google unless they thought it would be “safe”.

    And based on a video message posted by the former-owners of YouTube, it looks like they are staying on in executive roles, more focussed on developing the site, and not so worry about the business stuff which is now Google’s problem.

  • 7. Clayton Northcutt  |  October 11th, 2006 at 12:19 am

    Ah, yes, the video that send waves round the Internet pond. I saw that earlier today, and, for a moment, felt (somewhat) reassured. However, let us ask yet more questions, and consider the answers, if only to amuse me.

    Negotiations took a long time because the YouTube owners wanted to ensure that their product stays in tact – that I can accept. Yet, for how long after the Google takeover are they going to be in the picture? How much say are they going to ultimately have? Are they moving from co-founders to Google employees?

    These answers will have significant bearings on the future of the YouTube community, and it’s these answers that worry me. And then how much do the owners care about the culture that has been formed around and in YouTube? Do they consider it some offshoot that isn’t something they should concern themselves with? They hardly regulate ‘the community’ (only the videos, and even then primarily if they have a corporate/institutional request), and one only needs look at many of the comments left on videos. So, my concern in this regard is that they feel that their primary loyalty is to the customer in terms of the 1’s and 0’s that they provide to the world.

    And I bring up the diversity on the Internet once more; Google can (though I question if they will) dictate what we can and can’t see on YouTube now. This is dangerous, not only to the freedom of speech that everyone on the Internet exercises daily, but to the freedom of the Internet. I doubt that Google has any form of agenda, but if they were to sellout to the corporate world that they are a part of, pressures exist on other companies and institutes that may then be reflected back upon YouTube as a sort of ripple effect. Everyone acknowledges that YouTube takes a ridiculous amount of bandwidth to run. Google has signed onto that responsibility. Furthermore, no company, in the capitalist world, aims at running at a loss. It’s not good business. Therefore, either Google will have to continue running YouTube out of their profits made elsewhere, or, and what I suspect may very well happen, they will have to make YouTube profitable, or at the very least, self-sustaining.

    What is the easiest way for this to happen? All companies and firms to get in on the action. How long, I ask, until, as with WWE (which, I do note, is disgusting in its terms of user loyalty and satisfaction), you have to watch an advertisement before every video? What about ads clogging up and slowing down the page (as has happened with MANY sights that everyone knows of)? And then, to get more customers in to support the increase in video uploads daily, how long until it turns into some sort of farce where you user account page is some sort of personal hub, where the sight is lag-tastic because of all the ‘decoration’ and ‘features’ that are an attempt to draw in every teenager under the son looking to expand their social network (MySpace familiar to anyone, and the joke that it now is)?

    Now I hold faith in Google. They are a good company, and have always shown their intentions from the onset, in everything they’ve done. And these intentions are generally, if not always, good. But this isn’t some foray into the world of emails, like Gmail, or personal web-pages, like Google Pages, or Net-based software, like Google Spreadsheet. This is a pre-established, overwhelmingly popular, website and community. The two things have consumed many an hour of people’s man power to really become a home within the home for some people.

    As you can probably tell, it’s the community that I’m most worried about. It’s because it wasn’t made by a company, it wasn’t made by the owners, it wasn’t even made with the dollar. It was made by people like me, like you Samuel. By people who wanted a voice and wanted to make something out of nothing. It’s serves as a testament to what the e-culture, the technologically capable, the nerds of the world, the social outcasts and withdrawn, can actually do. The Internet is quickly becoming a better place than reality! And it’s because of the average person sitting at their average computer living their average life, all chipping together to make something extraordinary. This is the community that I’ve chosen to become part of, that I’ve chosen to help build, and I hope (do note that I can’t choose this option) that the corporate sellout of YouTube doesn’t happen at all.

    To get back to the point I had originally intended with my previous paragraph, the community focused around YouTube and existing within, it wasn’t created by a company. How could a company cater for it? How can a company ensure it’s success without ridiculous change? How can a company even possibly understand it? Even a member of the community has times when they say “Wow, how strange” or “That’s a surprise”. This is why I worry about YouTube changing hands. The community was built and existed while YouTube sat in the hands of one person. Now, not only is it going to sit in a new set of hands, different hands altogether, but it’s going to have to travel there. There is no guarantee that can be made with 100% commitment that nothing will change and the community will survive. None. People can say “We will try” or “We will look out for you” but it could be something so small as ads on the page that change everything. Who knows, the YouTube community is so unique in its structure and make-up that, in reality, it serves as a one-time experiment. So how can anyone say, can the YouTube owners, creators and workers, Google, even you and I Samuel, how can anyone say what is going to happen. You and I have done the only thing that anyone can in this situation: hope and talk. We hope nothing changes, as do many, many, people put there. We express our convictions, beliefs, our hopes and (possible) prayers for YouTube and it’s community. And that’s all, really, anyone can do.

    I hope you don’t feel I’m attacking you Samuel. It’s only that the community of YouTube that I have spoken so much of is important to me. The website has transcended being a place to watch videos, to being a place to watch people. I live in the world of Vlogs over there, and so it’s no wonder that I feel so ’emotionally involved’ with this scenario, as I have become ’emotionally involved’ with many of the people who are going a step further than our mere blogs, and personalising the who get-up with visual and sound. Now you can see and hear and experience a person, really, writing a blog, instead of reading dots on a screen (but (and anyone in the YouTube know will understand this), as we leaned with LonleyGirl15, isn’t it all just dots on a screen anyway?).

    Anyway, that’s just what I think, and of course, I encourage debate on this. Perhaps I will be viewed as some socially-deprived looney by some people. But who cares? I still have YouTube to turn to.

    But for how long …

    Clayton Northcutt.

  • 8. Samuel  |  October 11th, 2006 at 1:10 am

    I firmly believe that Google are very aware that any negative change to YouTube will reflect badly on them ten-fold, and I believe that Google bought YouTube in an effort to ensure it survives, and learn from the people who created and maintained (and still do…we’re told) such an amazing and vibrant community.

    MySpace is a joke, and I would be aghast if Google tried to do anything other than their usual clean and slightly mundane interface, certainly anything which comes close to MySpace would be an unmitigated disaster, and I strongly and highly doubt that Google are or will ever be that stupid.

    The being said, you are right Clayton, we are merely hoping and praying that things stay the way we want them, and that Google are listening.

    If my experiences with contacting Google are anything to go by, we will likely never hear back from them, but they are listening. I remember one time when I made a minor, but forgotten by them on that occasion, feature suggestion and found that it was implemented a couple days later. I didn’t hear back from them, but it was nice to know that they were listening.

    Hopefully, they will do so again (and it would be hard to ignore the public on this one, especially with four of the top six search keywords on Technorati at the moment being to do with Google and YouTube!)


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