Google lets YouTube take lead

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Google Video is finally making room for YouTube.

Months after closing its $1.65 billion acquisition of the viral video site, Google said Thursday that Google Video will focus more on video search than hosting content, largely ceding that function to YouTube.

"Ultimately, we envision most user-generated and premium video content being hosted on YouTube so that it can further enhance the YouTube experience," the company said on its corporate blog. "We also envision YouTube benefiting from future Google Video innovations -- especially those involving video search, monetization and distribution."

When Google announced that it would acquire YouTube, CEO Eric Schmidt surprised industry observers by noting that Google Video would not be shut down in favor of YouTube even though they were competitive offerings. Until now, the company offered no indication of how it would resolve the duplication of duties.

In an interview this month at the NATPE convention in Las Vegas, Google vp content partnerships David Eun hinted that the two sites would come together in some complementary fashion (HR 1/19).

Google Video will now focus on the company's core competency -- search -- and not just on YouTube but for all online video. Previously, a search on Google Video only yielded video from the site itself.

Google Video will continue to exist as a repository for content, as it has since January 2006, when charter members including CBS Corp. and the NBA signed on and provided programming for download. But any such deals in the future likely will be centered at YouTube, which will rely on Google not only for search links but also advertising via its AdSense model.

YouTube also released a statement Thursday in response to the subpoena it was served Wednesday by 20th Century Fox, which requested the identity of a subscriber who uploaded episodes of "24" and "The Simpsons" to the site (HR 1/25).

"Fox alerted us to the videos, and per our policies on copyrighted material, we removed them promptly," the company said. "Subsequently, we received a subpoena and will comply with valid U.S. legal process. As a matter of policy, we do not publicly discuss legal matters."

A YouTube spokeswoman declined comment as to whether the site handed over information to Fox regarding the subscriber.
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