Google Buys YouTube — Mobile Implications?

So, Google has gone and bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock, which is being covered in full at our sister site PaidContent. The obvious question for me is “what sort of mobile content will come out of this?”, but the answer isn’t that obvious. For starters, most of Google’s mobile efforts have been around search, although it did start working with DivX a while ago to make its videos mobile. As far as I can tell that was it… YouTube is a bit better. It allows users to upload clips from mobile phones (via e-mail), and has a tenuous link with Cingular which sponsored a band competition on the video sharing site.
Perhaps the biggest indication of any mobile results is in the content deals announced by both companies just before the merger, which is mostly with music labels and is for music videos. There’s talk of free music videos supported by Google’s advertising nouse. Music videos, as well as the user-generated content which made YouTube so big, is perfect for mobile devices. For me, the question is not “what will they do” but “why haven’t they done anything yet?”, and if the answer is anything other than the fact that they’re still sorting out online video any speculation would be premature. But if it’s something they just haven’t got around to I’m sure they will at some point. Because of data charges syncing is the most obvious delivery technique at this point, but that leaves a few issues such as the difficulty of syncing. With the higher speed networks planned I’m sure there’ll be over-the-air downloads that don’t cost to much, which could see it take off. The revenue model could be paid for content (such as some of the new music video deals) or ad-sponsored (which is Google’s strength, after all) or a mixture of the two. Perhaps the biggest thing Google could bring to the deal is an easier way to find videos that interest you, which is of particular interest in mobile where you want to download only what you like.

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