Everyone’s favorite tool for mass voyeurism – YouTube – is starting to get sucked into the Google vortex. Google Video search results will now include Youtube videos as well.
This was bound to happen, but what I think is interesting here is the following from today’s announcement:
Over time, Google Video will become even more comprehensive as it evolves into a service where you can search for the world’s online video content, irrespective of where it may be hosted. (emphasis added)
Google’s mama didn’t raise no dummy. They know that while the destination is fun and all, it’s all about the billboards on the way. Google relies on the search highway as your preferred path to these destinations.
But videos are an odd destination. We don’t really wake up with a hankering to view a ridiculous local TV ad or some obscure Finnish dance video. Instead, we find out about them from others whether through emails or chats that fly around or through social sites like Digg. In other words, viral videos have us skipping the search highway altogether and going straight to the content.
On top of that, sites like Digg and blogs everywhere just display the videos themselves. It’s partly why Youtube took off like it did: the videos are portable. So how does Google monetize all those videos out there? It may display ads for a few seconds before the actual video. It may pass along ads around the video player skin.
As the web breaks out of the browser and ends up in the form of many smaller pieces in the form of gadgets and widgets, web video is clearly the ultimate widget. Videos don’t require any sort of installation (thanks to Flash), a link is usually enough, and they can be dropped virtually anywhere. We’re already starting to see videos end up on phones and portable devices. Ultimately, for search engines like Google and Yahoo it’s going to be about somehow blending that ad model with more modular, discrete experiences.
It really is becoming a bite-size web.