YouTube: The Platform

Comment

youtiube-logo.png(Update: Comment from YouTube added below). In case there was still any doubt that Google wants to use YouTube to host all the video on the Web, it’s announcement earlier today to broaden its APIs makes it clear that is its goal. Once again, instead of making it easier to search videos elsewhere, Google is making it easier to host videos on YouTube. Except that the new APis allow people to upload, watch, search, and comment on the videos on other Websites. The key here is that the videos themselves are hosted on Youtube’s servers. This brings Google back full circle to the initial strategy for Google Video, which originally required videos to be uploaded directly to Google in order to become indexed. YouTube is gradually replacing Google Video—that is where most people upload videos anyway—but getting as much video from the rest of the Web onto its servers allows it to do many more things with it than if it simply indexed the videos elsewhere. It can search them better and throw up ads against them.

Specifically, the new APIs allow Web developers to:

* Upload videos and video responses to YouTube
* Add/Edit user and video metadata (titles, descriptions, ratings, comments, favorites, contacts, etc)
* Fetch localized standard feeds (most viewed, top rated, etc.) for 18 international locales
* Perform custom queries optimized for 18 international locales
* Customize player UI and control video playback (pause, play, stop, etc.) through software

YouTube is not just white-labeling its video-hosting infrastructure for other sites, devices, and desktop applications. It is offering video-hosting for free. This could prove highly disruptive to other video-hosting platforms such as Brightcove, Maven Networks (now part of Yahoo), and Move Networks. Partners already using the APIs include Animoto, Casio, Electronic Arts, Helio, KickApps, Slide, and TiVo. Yes, you can now watch YouTube on TiVo.

Of course, it is not exactly free. The videos will also be available on YouTube, where Google will make money from any associated ads. It is not clear how the ad revenue will be split, or even if it will be. There is nothing in the API that allows for a Website to insert their own ads. So that is a big question mark. (More on that after I speak with a YouTube exec later in today).

Update: YouTube product manager Jim Patterson confirms that there is no revenue-sharing built into the API, although he also points out that the API is open to YouTube Partners, who do share in the advertising dollars. He says:

We are not introducing any fundamentally new way to monetize. Any video that is uploaded through our API is treated exactly as on YouTube.com. In general if a video is uploaded to YouTube, in some cases we serve ads into that on YouTube.com. When people embed those we reserve rights to serve ads in the future.

It is not a white-label service. We do offer a hosting service, but it is not a direct alternative to the companies that you mention. There are some big differences. It is a YouTube-branded experience. It is free. The price you pay for using it is you must participate in the YouTube community.

In other words, YouTube feels that for the most part it is enough to direct traffic to third-party sites and let them tap into YouTube’s huge audience.

Yesterday, I put up a post asking readers to guess what YouTube’s announcement was going to be and offered a free iPod Shuffle to the first person to guess correctly. Although a lot of people were hoping for an announcement of better-quality video or a partnership with Hulu (that was my guess), only a handful got it right. Only the 237 comments submitted before YouTube made its announcement public at midnight PT were eligible for the prize.

Dan Frommer of Silicon Alley Insider pointed to a post of his last week that hinted at the white-labeling deal. But he wasn’t the first one with the right answer to comment on my post. (Sorry, Dan. No iPod for you, but you do get a link). Other commenters got parts of the announcement right—API for third-party uploads, partnership with TiVo, incorporating an upload-to-Youtube button on a a digital camera (Casio), integration with a video game platform (Spore)—but not the whole thing. The first commenter to really nail it, and the winner of the iPod Shuffle is Blake Machado (aka Balke Macho), No. 57, whose comment was:

YouTube as a platform. More developer tools/better APIs to power video on other sites (channels). Upload from third-party sites, search within the site, some kind of monetization model to go with it that will be announced but not yet released.

We are still waiting to learn about that monetization part, but everything else is spot on, and Macho was the first to really spell out the platform ambitions behind this announcement.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo