Just after snapping up Next New Networks, YouTube has acquired a digital-video technology company that specializes in high-quality picture manipulation. With the acquisition of Green Parrot Pictures, YouTube aims to offer better video processing.
YouTube sees 35 hours of video uploaded to its site every minute. Although some of those videos are professionally produced, crystal-clear presentations filmed with HD cameras, more are home-movie quality shot with mobile phones. Videos of the recent protests in Libya are a prime example. They were captivating, yet most were jerky, blurry or unsteady.
The Green Parrot technology could improve the quality of those videos by sharpening the image, reducing visual noise, and rendering a higher-quality, steadier video during the uploading process, said Jeremy Doig, director of Google Video Technology.
YouTube on the Big Screen?
Founded in 2004 by Anil Kokaram, an associate professor at the engineering school of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, Green Parrot has been working for six years with a small engineering team to build its video-improvement technology. The technology has been used in major studio productions from Lord of the Rings to X-Men to Spider-Man.
"Their technology helps make videos look better, while at the same time using less bandwidth and improving playback speed," Doig said. "With the equivalent of over 170,000 full-length movies uploaded to YouTube every week, the team's experience in this area -- working on solutions for both video consumers and experts alike -- will be a source of new ideas and further innovation at YouTube and across Google."
The financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. But as Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, sees it, the deal has implications beyond YouTube on a PC or mobile-phone screen. He said it will "extend YouTube on larger screens like the TV as well. As the 'battle for the living room' heats up between Google, Apple, Microsoft, Hulu and Netflix, the user experience matters. And this acquisition will help improve the user experience on YouTube."
YouTube's Quality Push
This is YouTube's second move in the video market in as many weeks, demonstrating that the user-generated content site is serious about competing with Netflix, Hulu and now Facebook, which inked a deal last week with Warner Bros. to stream video content.
Next New Networks adds new weapons to YouTube's arsenal for web video production. That's significant because YouTube has so far made a name for itself by hosting user-generated content rather than producing its own broadcasts. Next New Networks exists to produce original programming and help video producers distribute -- and make money -- from their films.
Next New Networks becomes a vehicle to attract unique original programming to YouTube that works to combat threats from the likes of Hulu, Netflix and even iTunes. Google TV has yet to take off, so YouTube is evolving even while its parent company continues trying to figure it out.