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Thursday, April 14, 2005
Google launches video upload program

Google has launched a program that lets its users worldwide store their digital videos at the Google Video service.

This new program, whose existence was disclosed by Google co-founder and president for products Larry Page last week, is aimed at anyone interested in making their digital videos available to a broad audience, according to a statement from the company.

"We're actually going to start taking video submissions from people, and we're not quite sure what we're going to get, but we decided we'd try this experiment," said Page, speaking last week at a panel discussion at the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) National Show in San Francisco.

Those interested can go to and load their digital videos to Google Video, itself a relatively new service that, when queried, returns excerpts of close-captioning transcripts of television programs, still images from broadcasts and other programming information. Google Video doesn't return actual video clips that users can play back. Google Video is still in test, or beta, phase.

Although Google is accepting videos, it is not making them searchable yet. The plan is to eventually let users search, play back and purchase videos stored in Google Video. Owners will have the option of giving their videos away for free or charging for them.

The upload program is available to all types of video content owners, from individuals to corporations, according to Google.

The approach Google is taking to indexing video is markedly different from its approach to indexing text and still images on Web pages, said Allen Weiner, a Gartner analyst.

Whereas Google actively harvests text and images, it is instead relying on video content owners to send in their video files, and there are several reasons for the different approach, he said.

For example, this approach lets Google get a sense for the breadth and depth of digital video content out there, and tune its search capabilities accordingly, creating a taxonomy, he said.

After creating the index, Google can then sit back and ponder what it's going to do with the content. It could become a bridge between the content owner and the content consumer, providing the platform for delivering the video and for charging on behalf of the owners, Weiner said. Google could also adopt an advertising-driven approach, he said. The company could also generate revenue from hosting the videos, which take up a lot of storage space, Weiner said.

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