Is Google's YouTube On Global Mission?

Elvis on Youtube
Elvis on Youtube

While everyone's talking about the shakeup atYahoo, Google continues to take over the world. Google's video site YouTube is launching its first foreign-language Web sites. Already, over half of the site's audience comes from outside the U.S., but by translating its site into seven other languages is intended to fend off competition.

Eventually YouTube will tweak the translated sites to the specific countries-- Brazil, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK, featuring local content and being sensitive to cultural issues. Local competition is going to be tough--in France, the site Daily Motion,' is a close second, with about 250 million videos streamed in April, compared to about 285 million streamed on Google.

As YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley has pointed out, Google's starting from a position of strength-- its content is already entirely global, without any geographic filters. Of course YouTube, which has had its share of legal issues, is going to only face more overseas -- in Thailand and Turkey, YouTube videos have been accused of breaking local laws.

And how about Google moving into the hybrid car market! Google turned on the solar panels covering the roof space on its sprawling Mountain View, Calif. campus, announcing it will provide $10 million in grants to support hybrid cars. And on Monday, Google--together with Pacific Gas & Electric--displayed six Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrids, modified to run partly on electricity from the power grid. This next generation hybrid solution would allow the vehicles to get nearly 75 miles to the gallon, about double most hybrids mileage. And in a new tweak, one of the vehicles was designed to actually give electricity BACK to the power company.

No, Google isn't taking on the Detroit automakers-- the cars aren't yet ready to go commercial because the batteries aren't strong enough, and this isn't one of Google's main business ventures--but a philanthropic one. But it's pretty cool that Google employees can drive around in the nifty new cars.

Questions? Comments?