Google Video Search vs Gootube – which will win ?

I wasn’t going to write more about this topic. However, listening to Eric at the NBA Technology Conference got me thinking.

The prospects for the inevitable challenge coming for Google and Youtube’s position that they are protected by the DMCA’s safe harbors will be debated until a case goes to court. What is becoming more interesting is whether their decision to hide behind the DMCA safe harbors, and to let Youtube continue to do so as well will turn out to be a good business decision, or hurt them in the long run.

1. Do No Evil has become See No Evil.
Its not well understood that Video Hosting Companies, like Google Video or Youtube have the OPTION of proactively getting confirmation that all video hosted on their sites is owned bye the uploader, or saying they have no control and invoking the DMCA Safe Harbor Provisions.

In selecting to hide rather than be proactive, the door was opened to a never ending stream of press reports of companies claiming to be injured by end users uploading content they don’t own and the lack of action on the part of Google to prevent it.

Wouldn’t a Do No Evil approach have been to review uploaded videos to make sure that permissions are in place prior to hosting them ? Even if it means traffic would be negatively impacted ?

Google’s HUGE problem here is that EVERYONE in the entire universe is content owner at some level. So the challenge isn’t winning the first case, or some case to support their position behind the Safe Harbors. Its the fact that they have to win EVERY case, in every jurisdiction in the world. They have seen what happens with the Belgian courts. That is only the beginning. The tobacco companies thought they had a never ending win streak and were safe from judgements… until they weren’t.

2. Safe Harbors mean no ad revenue around videos
There has been a lot of discussion about how Google Video and Youtube can monetize the videos they host. Right now its pretty much a moot question. Because Google has chosen to use the Safe Harbors provisions they can’t monetize any videos they don’t have licensing deals for. This is why you don’t see ads on the pages of videos uploaded by the general public.

Which is exactly why Google is desperate to get licensing deals done with major media companies and to create an opt in licensing deals for uploads from the general public. Without them, despite the fact they are subsidizing the bandwidth of the worlds user generated and even corporate video, (smart companies are creating private groups to host videos simply so Gootube covers the bandwidth bills) they have no revenue to cover that bandwidth cost.

Until they can get some material percentage of Google Video and Youtube licensed, which may NEVER happen, Gootube will be a losing proposition.

It also leads to the question of just what an Opt In Licensing Agreement look like ? Will it give Google eternal rights to the video ? Will they share 50pct, 80pct, 20 pct of revenues ? Will they limit how the videos are hosted on other sites ? What will Google get and what will they give ? How they handle these licenses will have a significant impact on how Google is perceived going forward.

3. Will Google Video Search truly be an internet wide search ?
Right now Google Video searchs itself and Youtube. Thats it. If a video is anywhere else, according to Google Video Search, it doesn’t exist. If Video continues to become such an intrinsic media type on the net, how can Google continue to be a leader in search if they dont search other sites ?

Will Youtube continue to only offer search for Youtube Videos or will it expand ?

Given that Youtube is the primary destination for people searching for video, if it doesn’t offer search of non Google sites, will that hurt Googles position as the leader in search ?

Could they be content to be #1 in search for all things except Video ?

Will Google protect video hosted on Google Video and Youtube from spiders of other search engines ?

And if other sites are added to their index, doesn’t that mean when a user comes to a Google Video Site and does a search, it will list all the results without prejudice? Won’t doing so drive traffic away from Gootube sites and possibly change the balance of power in video content aggregation ?

Search is supposed to be agnostic of source isn’t it ? If a video is listed in the Google Video index, it shouldn’t matter where its hosted. If video search traffic is referred the same as regular Google search, where is the incentive to do a licensing deal with Google Video or Youtube ? Particularly if you have your own advertising and media sales force. Why turn over sales to Google when you can get the traffic and keep control ?

To make matters worse, if Google Video Search decides to be the leader in video search and is agnostic as to host, then the arb falls into the hands of the content owner. The content owner, knowing he/she will get traffic from Google Video is in a much better position than he/she is today.

Today, traffic for your video stays on Youtube or Google Video. Sure the video gets seen, but all you have is MAYBE a marginal link to your website. If Google Video sends the user to your site , you OWN the visitor and the experience. You can put whatever kinds of ads you want, without limitation. Sure your salesforce may not be as good as Google’s, but your exposure to the user is no longer limited to watching your video and earning money from the percentage of revenue from an ad Google may put in or around it. Now you can sell your products, sell ads, whatever you so desire. So the arb is no longer where Google can say ” We sell ads better than you, do a deal with us” Now the arb is the content owner’s total revenue from a visitor generated by Google vs a percentage of an ad sale and losing control of the company’s video being hosted on Google Video or Youtube.

Thats a huge , huge change in the favor of the content owner.

If visitors from search results are not enough, you can do what content owners are doing today. You can buy spots on Youtube for visibility, or you can buy key words on Google, Google video Search and elsehwere. By not doing a deal to have your content on Gootube, you are in a much stronger position, and you leave Google Video in a much more vulnerable position. If video you own is on their site without license, they cant sell ads around it, and you have the option of letting it stay there, or sending a takedown notice. All while Google pays the bandwidth bill and creates whatever level of visibility you may receive for that content. Thats not a strong position for Google to be in, which probably makes a lot of the major media companies happy.

Google has a challenge. Do they want to be #1 in Video Search, or #1 in Video Hosting. Its going to be impossible to be both.

25 thoughts on “Google Video Search vs Gootube – which will win ?

  1. Why not rename your site BlogGootube instead of BlogMaverick? The Mavs are on an incredible run to what we all hope is a trophy and you\’re obsessing about GooTube. That\’s right, you were ready to sell the franchise. Please do and do it a favor.

    Comment by JRH -

  2. Tell me it isn\’t true that you are bankrolling this idiotic video Loose Change. Charlie Sheen and the rest of his Hollywood loonies are anti-american and this stupid video is a classic example. Without any facts they depict a fictional picture of what happened. It\’s full of false information and I can\’t believe you would support it. Of course you are free to do so but I have lost respect for you for this.Can they explain what happened to all the real passengers and crews of these four planes if they didn\’t crash into the bldgs; can they explain United 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. They speak of a B52 bomber that crashed into the empire state bldg and did comparativly minor damage. It was a B25, a very small WW2 recip airplane with very little aviation gas- not tons of jet fuel. Do they know how long it would take to rig two huge bldgs with explosives from top to bottom and no one noticed! I could go on but it won\’t matter to you. I know you will make money on this and that\’s probably why you are doing it. But it\’s sick!

    Comment by Bob Franzke -

  3. Mr Cuban, I admire your defending your rights!, freedom of speech is very debateable these days, I Like the service I get from Google, I like That Google actually pays its whizbang box\’o talent to actually work on thier own personal ideas and that the outcome is a richer employee and Google has \”found\” another brilliant idea1, to market and keep itself viable today, I love the simplicity of a google search as thats How I found You sir!,OK, enough about the text you are defending, sir, I would like an appointement, with someone who sets appointements to the appointment setter for you, If attall possible, I, me a Dallas small Bussinessman, have some ideas and and questions I want answerred by someone like you, still young enough to remember the Pure BS the EST presented, and the fences at every step,and how we might better understand, and turn the negative around into a positive way to Help More people without incresing the expediture,I have nothing, and want nothing, I have been investing in mankind, and am now fifty and sen nmost offit, I want to talk with you qwhen you make time to talk with a regular standard not beggin\’ya for money type a person, I need from you, an answer, and, an interest, if you believe that we have better options for fuel prices, IE;, damned new funny fuel, and, the fact it can be made better and cheaper and stronger with other elements, and soforth, I am no genius such as yourself, and this is way over the line and youll more than Likely Not seeit, huzzah, and maybe Ill try that chick in the paper who is always on fire todo the right thing,JaquiFloyd,anyways, there are many \’funny things\’ going on in this country now, and I wonderred if you wanted a Live subject to speak with and findout what really is going on with the VA DallasHospital or The pork that is just sworn to be needed and then,when we look at it, it makes no sense attall, anyways, I donot want to bother ya unless you have time to yak a bit about some real issues going on in this country completely different than the usual stuff you are buried under,Mike Carson

    Comment by MikeCarson -

  4. I have a theory… Until the Mavericks (and Mark Cuban)are willing to part ways with Bob Ortegal(?), they will never achieve a championship… Yeah, I know that sports announcers don\’t actually play the game, but, it\’s all about total perceptions, and frankly, he\’s a joke (sorry, but, Howdy Doody comes to mind)… Legends in their own mind have a way of rubbing off… and he \”rubs\” me completely the wrong way… He\’s a legend in his own mind, and apparently, has a lot of people fooled (for some reason)… Now, Mavs, win a championship, and prove me wrong (I hope you do)…
    Best of luck in the playoffs (I hope you win despite the TV \”personalities\”)…

    Comment by John Carmichael -

  5. This is an article I wrote with some questions Mr. Cuban.

    Comment by LUCUS -

  6. Mark,
    I think it all depends on how Google brands the two, or if they attempt to merge the two into one master service. Google Video could evolve into a video search service that is inclusive of YouTube, but not entirely so, while YouTube remains a hosting service. Essentially, YouTube would be the small circle inside the big circle of Google Video.

    Comment by J. Prosser -

  7. Google is a commercial driven company and they are only interested in money. For me it seems to be quite clear. Video search and some major license deals generate the big bugs while YouTube delivers the content.

    Comment by sonagem -

  8. Google will be fine. You don\’t have the collective intelligence they do and make to big of mistakes.

    – They are more innovative in 1 day than most companies are in 1 month


    Comment by Pallet Rack -

  9. Mark,

    I think this is really an issue of owning liability. I remember back in the 70s when I introduced to a company the concept of automating government reports. It seemed like such a good idea. However, they said they needed the human element. If all government reports that are in their compiled forms are available to competitors, it is possible that the competitors could take advantage of this information. If it was done by computer, you would, to some degree, take out the possibility of deliberate errors. Not that the client would ever actually manipulated the data but that competitors couldn’t assume that the client didn’t.

    This is similar in that once the hosting op takes on the burden of review, we now know it has been reviewed and we eliminate the possibility of finding the undesirable hidden treats.

    As our world becomes more automated, these issues will get more difficult. These are the real issues that we should be thinking about when we discuss supreme court justices or our right to know what our goverment is doing.

    I’m not smart enough to know the RIGHT choice on these matters so I’ll trust you and other smart people.

    Comment by David-Plano -

  10. As a user, I WANT Google to offer both search and hosting .. relying on other (and unreliable) sources for the hosting and simply offering search capabilities won’t be capable of maintaining the quality of experience I currently enjoy from Youtube

    Comment by Chubb -

  11. I don’t think Google necessarily knows or cares right now about how this will all pan out. I think their concept is to get users, get people interested in their products, their services, and their whole “Google” image.

    Comment by basketball coaching -

  12. i understand the distain over google and youtube that any traditional network provider (be it HD provider or not) has over the TV model that will eventually come to be from Google.

    there is a fairly simple solutions…

    when ads are placed in user generated content, they will not be allowed to participate from blatantly ripped content. So if FOX wants to upload something on youtube (when the licensing deal is announced). If a user wants to upload the same content, but ripped, they will not be able to profit from it if they can’t verify it. (that verification is anything youtube and Fox declares it to be)

    but this is where youtube’s filters and active monitoring really have to work. so that they and the content provider can benefit.

    as far as the video search and hosting distinction… i completely agree.

    and ‘do no evil’, such a subjective term… to me, Google is not evil because they do their part by posting the disclaimer. it is the CONTENT owner’s responsability to protect their content. (i am amazed that the content owner’s laziness is being confused for Google being evil.)

    Comment by echotoall -

  13. Like Warren Buffet says, stick to what you know.

    Comment by Tim -

  14. To #11. ” If google gets money from ads during it’s searches, and you use it to search for something copyrighted, isn’t google making money off of illegal material in that manner.”

    No. I wouldn’t think so. For the same reasons they aren’t held responsible if someone finds underage porn or ways to do illegal things.

    This is Google’s main point they stress when using adwords. They specifically say that their ads are screened to make sure they meet editorial guidelines, but that they will never screen or human edit their search index and that their search strictly runs on computer algorithms.

    They are simply using their search technology to find the hosted content (outside of google and youtube) and then putting ads around those searches on their site, but they have no further discretion once you click on an external link. If this was the case every search engine in the world would be guilty of criminal acts.

    I’m not familiar with isohunt enough to comment on that, but I would imagine there is something more to that then just them providing external links to bit torrent files. Not sure though.

    Again, my main point is Google will need to use their search domination for videos too, and eventually music, movies and more otherwise they will be passed up by competitors sooner rather than later.


    Comment by News Blog -

  15. If google gets money from ads during it’s searches, and you use it to search for something copyrighted, isn’t google making money off of illegal material in that manner.

    There is a website being sued right now called, they are search engine for bit torrents. They don’t host any files at all and they claim that what they do is no less legal than search for a torrent using google. I can’t find a flaw in that argument. other than claming that tha majority purpose of google is not to find copyrighted materials and that the majority of isohunt is.

    Comment by superdave -

  16. you were being ironic about tobacco companies not being safe from judgments, right?

    Comment by jim -

  17. Actually the stated goal is to index the world’s information, not just online information. That’s why they are scanning libraries. If we assume this is the goal then developing a standard for indexing video would be in their plan. However Google doesn’t openly announce standards- SEO people discover them by looking at what Google does and trying to game it. This model means that if Google only indexes YouTube, then those who want traffic to their video sites will optimize for the meta-data Google is using to get Google rankings, just like web site optimizers do.
    If Google is sly like a fox, they are creating de facto standards for indexing without officially doing so, keeping them out of the role of getting other big players on board. Just as the other search engines had to adapt to ‘Google’ standards for web site indexing, other rich media platforms will also adapt.

    Comment by Martin Edic -

  18. Google Video Search only displays results from Google Video and now YouTube.

    That is not video search! Everyone else indexes all video services. AOL Video Search, Yahoo Video Search, and even Windows Live Video Search.

    It is like a site indexing its own content and then saying it is a search engine.

    Comment by FSBO -

  19. I think the thing that stands out to me in what you said is “How can Google continue to be a leader in search if they dont search other sites?”

    Google’s mission is “to organize the immense amount of information available on the web.”

    However, it seems like they are ignoring this for their video search engine, because as you pointed out, they only show results for videos that they are hosting.

    Is it evil to not abide by your company’s mission?

    Comment by Hospice Care -

  20. My opinion… Youtube was purchased for the data…
    Google Video, is the testing platform for the next youtube.. Youtube can get sued.. after all it’s not Google..

    Comment by paisley -

  21. Google will likely operate them as 2 distinct lines of business, as they should. Video search bringing in ad dollars tied to your video search (hmm sounds familiar…they should be able to make a few bucks there). Video search should be as source agnostic as PageRank…meaning YouTube will often be at the top due to the algorithms themselves. Agree it needs to search all sites, but it will still benefit YouTube the most, at least for now. As far as monetizing YouTube itself, sure seems their strategy is getting in bed with the big guys. The rest of the content just brings in eyeballs…it is indirectly monetized by the money from the big guys, so doesn’t need to be directly monetized.

    Comment by gz -

  22. “Google has a challenge. Do they want to be #1 in Video Search, or #1 in Video Hosting. Its going to be impossible to be both.”

    This is the main question. There are already other sites that are doing this and although GooTube presently holds the majority of the content they better decide what they’re planning on doing or they very well could get passed by. Remember folks YouTube is only about 18 months old if that even and it wouldn’t take much for another site that offers full search of all video online to easily pass it by.

    Hosting content is expensive, but allowing other sites to share that cost and then using Google’s search technology to find it is where they should be heading.

    Sure they can control the market by offering rev share with users that upload content, but then that goes back to trying to figure out who really owns that content. Why not let users upload it and then also use the search feature to scour the net for other videos? This seems to be more cost effective and will allow them to use their worldwide name to dominate the video search market while still sharing some of the costs of hosting the video with other sites.


    Comment by News Blog -

  23. when google first launched google video 3 or so years ago they were very clear about copyright issues. any user uploaded content took days to appear, as google reviewed every clip, both for inappropriate and copyrighted content. their strategy then for google video was to license/sell content from major rights holders, and they made it very clear to potential partners that they were focused on copyright protection, and their position on user uploaded content i believe was derived in part from their desire to get the “big fish” rights holders comfortable. google is obviously singing from a a very different songbook these days. what would be interesting if someone could get hold of google’s internal documents related to the original launch of google video. i believe those would seriously undercut google’s current arguments.

    Comment by googlemyarse -

  24. Hi Mark and readers,
    I don’t think the picture is as black and white as you make it out to be. It seems to me there are more options to consider to monitize GooTube and still be the #1 search engine.

    First, let’s look at user generated content. Bandwidth is expensive. Most users don’t have the bandwidth to host video and even if they do, they want their video to be widely found. Since we know Google will index YouTube, that makes GooTube a good combination for most user generated content. They don’t get any revenue from that, but when the content is aimed at friends or when it’s copies of other people’s content that’s OK.

    Second, let’s look at the small content creator. Now it is content that you own and want to make money off of. Here’s where google brings in a basic agreement. YouTube hosts the video with Google Adwords and you get the ad words profit. All the benefits for the first case still hold, but GooTube only does deals with people with legitiment content.

    Third you have the big content companies. Google still has a proposition for them. They can provide supperior content delivery by moving content closer to the consumer ala Akamai and charge for that. They can drive more viewers to content by making it searchable. They can provide end user billing with their checkout system for pay per view content. Several revenue streams there.

    Finally, that leaves content that lives outside of YouTube. Google can run ads on the results of that search, since that’s not a safe harbor issue anymore. Of course, just like with text, when you click on the page you leave Google’s site. But they did get the first opportunity to advertise to the search user. Lots of those results are going to send you to YouTube and they get to hold on to the user.

    If you assume that Google is doing all those things, I think that makes Google #1 in search with content inside or outside GooTube.

    I’d also assume that these Google guys have a few more tricks up their sleeve, maybe in the long term.

    First, it is hard to index images and video. That means what people typically do is index the text around the content. Since GooTube allows users to provide more information about their video, they will inherently have a better index. They can also index meta data about the content like the running time, the resolution, and information stored in the clip. They could do that for clips outside of YouTube, but since that requires lots of bandwidth from other sites, they might avoid doing that. Also, if you’re a PPV type event, Google can’t index it, unless you’ve made arrangements with them.

    Second, Google did some interesting work with indexing based on the closed captioning information on TV. Again, if content lives on YouTube, they have the ability to do that for lots of content, which provides a better index, but only of YouTube content.

    Finally, there has been some interesting work on indexing the content of images. If their researchers can make any of that work in a reasonable amount of computing cycles, then that changes things dramatically. Again, only YouTube content is indexed. That might also give them a way to filter content (without using tons of manpower). Today filtering isn’t in their best interest, but that may change as they become able to monetize more of the content.

    This still assumes that they index everything, but some content is just indexed better. I suspect users wouldn’t hold that against them, and it would drive more viewers to YouTube than anywhere else.

    One last comment. “Do no evil” is a silly motto, mainly because evil means different things to different people. To hackers DRM is evil. To content provides piracy is evil. Those two concepts will probably never be in agreement. I think Google’s attitude is more the libertarian hacker view of evil. Allowing China to sensor the web was evil. Allowing users to share content they don’t own, is not so evil. You as a content owner would probably disagree.

    Comment by Daryll Strauss -

  25. If Google wants to say that they “do no evil”, then they should opt for becoming the most used option for video search. That gives them the right to say they don’t control the content of the video, just provide a bridge between the video and its viewers.

    Of course, they can’t really create as profitable of a site as they would by hosting the videos. By keeping visitors at their Google Video website, they can better advertise…

    It’s tough to see Google backing off from hosting video, especially after purchasing YouTube. And even if they pretend to ignore the consistent, unavoidable copyright violations, Google likely won’t be able to keep total control — many 3rd-party programs and websites allow anybody with an Internet connection take videos off YouTube in a format of there choice — free to be presented anywhere on the web with little regard of copyright consequence.

    Comment by la287 -

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