Google has started to provide video clips in Google News, a feature it had been widely expected to add to its article search and aggregation site and which Yahoo and AOL already offer in their news sites.
"We're showing related news videos along with our news articles to give you a broader spectrum of info available," a Google staffer announced Tuesday in the Google News blog.
Google News is adding the feature through a collaboration with the company's YouTube video sharing site. The clips will come from channels that video news producers have set up on YouTube. Plus, with the YouTube video-playback technology, Google News users will not have to download any clips and they'll be able to view the videos in any browser, according to Google.
"What we're announcing today is a test feature within Google News. We're beginning with a small group of partners who have news content on YouTube and we're starting with a limited amount of content," said Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker in an interview.
"While we're starting out as a test, we hope going forward to access the thousands of content providers who use YouTube to reach a broad global audience, especially those who focus on news," Stricker added.
For now, Google will feature videos in the US, UK and Ireland editions of Google News. Video providers include CBS, Reuters, and a number of local Hearst TV stations, the company said.
Last May Google News Product Manager Nathan Stoll said that news video was an area the company would "like to make progress in."
"It's true that lots of publishers have asked us about our plans, whether or not we're planning [to include video] because they'd like to get added traffic to their video content. There's certainly a need out there," Stoll told IDG News Service.
Tuesday's announcement fits within the company's larger universal search initiative, which seeks to integrate links from its different engines within search results.
For example, in its main Google.com Web search engine, Google already collates results from its Images, Video, Maps and News speciality search engines, if warranted by the query.
The news videos will play in their entirety right on the Google News page, a different approach from news articles and photos, for which the site only provides headlines, text snippets and thumbnail images. To access an entire article and view photos in their original size, Google News users have to click on over to the site where they appear.
Google indexes articles and photos from the Web without necessarily obtaining permission from their publishers. Although this practice has been challenged in court as copyright violation in the US and abroad by some news organizations, Google maintains that it is protected by the fair use principle. Many publishers actually encourage Google to index their material in Google News because they find they benefit from the traffic the site sends them.
In the case of the Google News videos, the approach is different because the clips have already been uploaded to YouTube by their owners, granting YouTube permission to stream them.