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April 30, 2008

Google/YouTube Priorities

YouTube tests a new player and it looks great: the chrome is less pregnant and almost invisible, two rarely-used buttons have been removed, the volume control takes less space, you can finally use keyboard shortcuts (up/down arrows for volume, right arrow for fast forward, space to pause the video).

In other YouTube news, Eric Schmidt said in an interview for CNBC that the highest priority for YouTube this year is figuring out how to make money. "We believe the best products [for monetizing YouTube] are coming out this year. And they're new products. They're not announced. They're not just putting in-line ads in the things that people are trying."

Asked whether gaining a larger share of the ad market is Google's biggest priority, Eric Schmidt changed his mind. "Well, our number one priority is end-user--end-user happiness. Literally, are people happy with the results that they get using Google search? So it's literally search, and every day we bring out new improvements and indices that are--taxonomies that are understanding of language, more content, bigger--all of the things that make Google such a great search experience. That's our number-one priority, even more important, for example, than advertising."

It makes you wonder if the new minimalistic YouTube player intends to improve user experience or make room for the cutting-edge monetization features that will be announced later this year. "Well, our number one priority is end-user--end-user happiness. (...) I don't think we've quite figured out the perfect solution of how to make money [from YouTube], and we're working on that. That's our highest priority this year."

But maybe the two priorities converge at some point. "Google believes that advertising itself has value. The ads literally are valuable to consumers. Not just to the advertisers, but the consumers," said Eric Schmidt in the same interview. Maintaining the right balance between all these priorities is a difficult challenge for Google and one of the reason why, after one year and a half since the acquisition, YouTube still doesn't make significant money.

{ Thanks, Daniel. }

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