Blog Post

YouTube’s International Designs

YouTube is leaking hints of plans to localize around the world. Despite global popularity, the video site is currently only available in English. But the beginnings of a master international plan are coming out, with recent indications of designs to launch both Chinese and French versions of YouTube.

This weekend, speaking at a public forum in his home country of Taiwan, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen said the company was considering adding additional languages, and today Les Echos in France published details of YouTube’s plans to launch in Europe.

From the Taipei Times:

With half of its users living outside the US, YouTube may develop different language versions for the site, including a Mandarin version for Taiwan, to boost its appeal to global users, he said.

The Les Echos report says Google CEO Eric Schmidt will announce the site’s first European rollout, a French version in Paris on June 19, along with assurances about implementation of copyright protection methods. Google has reportedly cut deals with French media (with whom it has had notorious disagreements), signing France Télévisions to an agreement similar to what it has with the BBC in the U.K.

Localization seems like a smart move for YouTube, which has had many tussles with foreign governments — India, Turkey, and Brazil among them — over various videos they found offensive, often leading to them blocking the site entirely. In multiple cases, such as in Thailand, Google has offered to censor its site to appease the offended leaders and judges and allow other parts of its site to come through.