Google makes a big bet on video

by Mathew on December 7, 2006 · 1 comment

Well, that didn’t take long. It’s only been a few months since Google bought YouTube, and now it is signing deals with broadcasters — in this case, British Sky Broadcasting or BSkyB — to handle a host of video-related functions, including searching within video, feeding ads into video streams and providing a YouTube-style platform for uploaded video content from users.

Of course, Google was working on video search and video advertising for some time before it bought YouTube, but now it has the full package of abilities and tools to offer someone like BSkyB. It’s interesting that the company went with a British broadcaster instead of someone from the U.S. Google said the choice had to do with higher broadband speeds in Britain, but I wonder whether there isn’t some resistance from U.S. networks who think that they can do all of those things themselves, and therefore they don’t need Google.

GoogleTV.jpg

According to the Financial Times story, the deal involves search and a YouTube-style hosting service to begin with, but will eventually be extended to video advertising on BSkyB channels, with advertisements stored on the broadcaster’s set-top boxes and then fed into video streams by Google based on its algorithms. “This is a really, really big deal for us,” said Google CEO Eric Schmidt. “If it works, it will become our most lucrative deal from the get-go.”

It’s also the first time that Google will be providing the Gmail engine to someone else for use in powering their email — which BSkyB will offer along with the video tools — according to Google Operating System. And the Guardian says that the British network will also be offering Google’s VOIP services, as well as data storage and other services (the much-rumoured GDrive perhaps?). A pretty interesting deal, and possibly the blueprint for similar deals with other broadcasters.

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