Prepare for the launch of AOL UnCut (currently in open beta), a near perfect clone of YouTube. The service is powered by Video Egg (see Josh Kopelman for more).
Videos of up to 5 minutes can be uploaded to the service, and they are then converted to the Flash format (same as YouTube). Like YouTube, videos are rated, commented and shareable. Also, any video may be embedded into another website via a code snippet. The only significant difference between AOL Uncut and YouTube is that YouTube supports tagging, whereas UnCut doesn’t.
This is right on the heels of the launch of AIM Pages, which is directly targeting Myspace and other social networks.
Look for a launch in the next week.
I am seeing an increasing trend of the big guys simply copying what successful startups are doing. AOL with this product and AIM Pages. Google with Google Notebook and a flurry of other projects, etc. The only large company that is even experimenting with unproven concepts at this point is Microsoft with its various Live.com ideas. I’d like to see more experimenting at the big company level.