Call it the end of an era. Long before Google bought YouTube, it launched a competitive offering called Google Video. Now Google is doing away with the obscure platform.
Few are surprised, and few may notice. Launched in 2005, Google Video hasn't allowed video uploads in several years. YouTube, meanwhile, has become the dominant force in the user-generated video world. comScore reports YouTube is the leading online video provider, garnering 144.1 million unique viewers in January alone.
"Google Video is killing hosting and merely telling people to move their videos over to YouTube," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. "There's really no big surprise here, although Google did say at one point that it would continue to host videos. Google Video isn't going away entirely, just the user-generated content part of it. It's becoming a video search tool entirely."
Google's YouTube Moves
Google offered more information in an e-mail it sent to Google Video users. Google explained that, beginning later this month, hosted video content on Google Video will no longer be available for playback.
"Google Video stopped taking uploads in May 2009 and now we're removing the remaining hosted content," the e-mail said. "We've always maintained that the strength of Google Video is its ability to let people search videos from across the web, regardless of where those videos are hosted. And this move will enable us to focus on developing these technologies further to the benefit of searchers worldwide."
Google Video users with hosted video on the site won't be able to play them after April 29. Google is working to make it easy for users to move the content over to YouTube with a download button on its video status page. But Google will nix that button on May 14.
The move to kill Google Video comes on the heels of news about a $100 million investment to revamp YouTube. According to The Wall Street Journal, YouTube is moving to compete with both broadcast and cable television and will add original programming to make the site stickier and attract advertisers.
Google is also putting the kibosh on Tags. Google introduced Google Tags last year as a way for businesses to highlight their organic Google Places listing with a yellow tag that showcases offers, photos, videos, menu and reservations for a flat monthly fee.
Even though Google reports tens of thousands of businesses using Tags, the company has decided to shift its efforts toward other product offerings for local businesses. Google will work with Tags users to transition them to other services.
"Tags was probably discontinued because it either wasn't seeing enough adoption by small businesses or those that were using it weren't seeing much lift -- or both. Google wouldn't comment specifically to me about their rationale," Sterling said. "It also cost only $25 per month and so was probably not generating meaningful revenue for Google."