YouTube's Stab at Profitability: Premium Content, Google Video Search

When Google bought YouTube there was plenty of speculation as to what the fate of Google Video would be. Well, it looks like some of our questions are finally getting answered.

Google Video is going to turn into a mere video search engine, indexing content from YouTube as well as other video sites on the web such as DailyMotion. Google wants to be the place you go for video, even if the content doesn't happen to be hosted by them. Tricky tricky, Google.

Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, Google Video's storefront looks to be headed for YouTube. This is huge, huge news in the world of online video.

Setting up premium content on YouTube is a big priority for Google, and if they do it right iTunes will have a pretty meaty competitor on their hands in the field of online video stores. Google's been taking down copyrighted material whenever asked since buying YouTube, and it looks like all that butt kissing was to show that they're a good company to work with. By splitting YouTube's content into homemade and commercial they'll be trying to legitimatize the site as a profitable place to sell content.

One can imagine searching the new Google Video for Lost and getting both homemade Lost parodies as well as actual episodes. The parodies would be free to view, while the episodes would cost you a couple of bucks.

So what do you guys think? From where I'm sitting this looks to be a pretty smart strategy, one that will use the current overwhelming popularity of the site to create a built-in customer base for when they start charging for content. The biggest issue I see is with the quality of the streams — they certainly aren't worth paying for at the moment. If Google either spruces up the streams or makes the for-pay streams higher quality, they might just have yet another hit on their hands.

Google announces overhaul of Google Video strategy, plans for YouTube's future [via Slashdot]