| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Google Inc is adding YouTube-like video communications features to its business application suite, looking to make video-sharing among office workers as easy as trading e-mails or instant messages.
Unlike YouTube, which is aimed at consumers, Google Video for business is designed to be shared among designated users within an organization's own Web domain, protecting executive speeches, product training, sales meetings or other employee video messages from unauthorized disclosure outside the company.
Google Video for business is being incorporated into the Internet search leader's Google Apps Premier Edition, which costs $50 a user for year for a package of business software, e-mail, scheduling and Web site design capabilities.
"What YouTube did in the consumer world, Google Video for business is going to do in the enterprise," said Matthew Glotzbach, product management director of Google's Enterprise division, the unit responsible for Google Apps.
From Septr 8, educational users of Google Apps can try out the service free for six months and will be charged $10 a user to continue using video afterward.
Unlike videoconferencing services that require specialized hardware and software installations in offices, Google Video for business users can simply trade Web site addresses to view videos as the videos are delivered from Google computers.
"It's for anyone who says, 'I can't remember how to do that step'," said Nucleus Research analyst Rebecca Wettemann. "Google Video for business brings back some of the context to what we have lost by communicating with e-mail or IM."
And unlike YouTube, which typically limits videos to less than 10 minutes, Google Video for business can run for an hour or more. The company has also developed an automated service that identifies scene transitions and creates a quick way to skip to specific segments of a video.
"It is insanely complex to deploy video infrastructure," Glotzbach said of the unfulfilled promise of videoconferencing services that have required special meeting rooms or clunky integration between desktop computers and back-office networks.
"Video to date in the enterprise has been a zero billion dollar business," the Google executive joked.
While Google has designed the system to give business users control over who sees what videos inside their organization, the risk that internal company communications will leak outside the organization also stands to increase.
Glotzbach said the risks of exposing confidential information are similar to those of using corporate e-mail but have the advantage of being blocked and not viewable to users outside an organization's Web domain.
Administrators can give users the option to download videos to view offline or on portable devices. Google Video provides three gigabytes of video storage per Google Apps Premier user.
The videos can be used in standard quality or high-resolution formats, depending on network bandwidth. They are also available to designated corporate users of Apple Inc's Internet phone, the iPhone, Google said.
In a separate move, Google Inc is set to begin a public trial on Tuesday of a new Web browser designed to more quickly handle video-rich or other complex Web programs, in a challenge to browsers designed originally to handle text and graphics.
(Editing by Lincoln Feast)