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Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Google Launches YouTube Local Language Sites

The world's most popular video-sharing site introduced local-language sites in nine countries on Tuesday that will all just go by YouTube.

Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, the co-founders of YouTube, which was acquired by Web search leader Google Inc. for $1.65 billion last year, told a news conference in Paris that the nine country sites will eventually feature locally popular content.

Until now, while user-generated videos and comments could be posted in any language, the YouTube.com site framework and navigation menus are in English only. And the featured pages users first see are heavily skewed to U.S. tastes. This is despite the fact that more than half of YouTube's audience comes from outside the United States, Chen said. YouTube unveiled national sites for Brazil (http://www.youtube.com.br), Britain (http://youtube.co.uk), France (youtube.fr), Ireland (youtube.ie), Italy (http://it.youtube.com), Japan (youtube.jp), the Netherlands (youtube.nl), Poland (youtube.pl) and Spain (youtube.es). During the first stage of the international move, each site will offer fully translated local homepages and video search functions. Over time, each national site will have an entirely "local" feel that will allow for country-specific video rankings and comments in various sections, YouTube said.

Consumers will have a variety of ways to reach the international sites. Users with computer Internet addresses in the nine countries will be offered the option to switch to the local sites. A series of flag icons will run along the top of YouTube sites, allowing users to jump to other country sites.

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