I'm thinking of a number between $1.65 billion and Google's current stock price... You guessed it--that's the value of YouTube.
Shortly after Google's announcement that it will acquire YouTube, execs from both companies participated in an investor conference call where they proceeded to dodge most questions and duck the specifics. One claim, however, that Google CEO Eric Schmidt made piqued my interest: "In the last 48 hours our engineers got together and came up with 20 or 30 different ways" that Google's technology could integrate with YouTube's. Well, you'd have to be a visionless Yahoo executive to think none of those were wireless related. Here's our take on the mobile angles in the YouToogle tie-up:
- Google quietly acquired visual search company Neven Vision in August, which specialized in facial recognition technology for photos. Schmidt told a reporter from ABC news that the short-term integration will be all about search, while the advertising aspects of the deal "may not happen soon." It certainly will take a while to adapt Neven's technology to the video space. Let's not forget that Neven Vision's technology had been used in the past for mobile marketing purposes in an application called iScout, which reportedly allowed users to snap a picture of a movie billboard, send the picture to a special database that would then send them the movie's trailer. A mobile-accessible YouTube may be one such special database once Google begins to integrate it next year.
- Google also teamed up with DivX in January to distribute DivX videos to mobile devices, so the company obviously has a documented interest in distributing videos to mobile--why not YouTube then? Release
- As we've reported a few times in the last few days, T-Mobile USA recently announced that it wants to offer Web 2.0 services like YouTube and MySpace to its subscribers once it rolls out its UMTS network. Article
- YouTube already allows users to upload videos from a mobile phone. As social networking continues to move onto the mobile platform and cameraphones boast more impressive resolutions, you can bet the video camera in your pocket will be a big generator of YouTube content.
- And finally, Cingular has been promoting a contest for hopeful musicians on YouTube. The site features the promo video for the contest on its front page, so while it's not really mobile content, it looks like YouTube has already worked out one deal with a mobile carrier. Check out the video, here.
I'm excited to see how the mobile implications of this deal play out, but it's obvious to me that the seeds have already been planted. - Brian