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by Mike Zazaian October 9, 2006 - 5:46pm, 5 Comments

Google Buys YouTube For $1.65 Billion

In a move that was all but inevitable, Google snatched up YouTube after the Stock Market’s close today for a tidy $1.65 billion in stock.

It remains to be seen exactly how YouTube will be implemented alongside Google’s own Google Video service. According to Google YouTube will maintain its own distinct brand identity while, strengthening and complementing Google’s own fast-growing video business . However Google puts YouTube to use the purchase re-establishes the dominance that Google once enjoyed in the online video market.

Said Google CEO Eric Schmidt:

The YouTube team has built an exciting and powerful media platform that complements Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Our companies share similar values; we both always put our users first and are committed to innovating to improve their experience. Together, we are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers.

Prior to February of 2006 Google Video boasted the highest visitor rates of any online video site. But fledgling YouTube, started up with only $3.5 million in funding in November of 2005, quickly rose in stature within three months, and in less than a year now claims over 35 million daily visitors, and more than 100 million videos played daily. With Google Video dropping to second-best at the 9 million daily vistor mark, it’s no wonder that Google sought to grab hold of the biggest player in the emerging online video market.

Despite its purchase YouTube will maintain it’s current home base in San Mateo, California, just 20 miles North West of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. In addition, each of YouTube’s 60 employees will stay on the company’s roster. Said Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube:

Our community has played a vital role in changing the way that people consume media, creating a new clip culture. By joining forces with Google, we can benefit from its global reach and technology leadership to deliver a more comprehensive entertainment experience for our users and to create new opportunities for our partners. I’m confident that with this partnership we’ll have the flexibility and resources needed to pursue our goal of building the next-generation platform for serving media worldwide.

As was indicated in an earlier TechFreep article speculating on the deal, pundits around the industry believe that YouTube’s inherent copyright-infringing tendencies could turn the deal sour for Google. But armed with over $10 billion cash in pocket, and it’s proven Don’t be evil policy, it’s hard to see how any entity, legal or otherwise, could stand in the way of the Google/YouTube juggernaut.

[Google Press Release]