NEW YORK (Reuters) - Popular video Web site YouTube.com is opening up its service to run on millions more phones which are capable of using high-speed wireless links, the company said on Thursday.
YouTube, a unit of Google Inc, says it is extending its service from a handful of phones to a broader range of devices used by 100 million consumers worldwide that rely on high-speed links to stream videos to mobile screens.
“It’s basically the full YouTube experience you can get on the desktop — on the phone,” said Dwipal Desia, YouTube’s mobile product manager. “We expect it to get fairly popular from our past experiences.”
The Web video sensation now only provides a full mobile video service to users of Apple Inc’s iPhone and to devices sold by Helio, a small U.S. wireless provider that targets young, tech-savvy consumers. Helio is a unit of SK Telecom Co Ltd and EarthLink Inc
A scaled-down version of YouTube with selected clips is also available to subscribers of the No. 2 U.S. mobile service, Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc.
Desai said in an interview that most of the phones sold by Verizon Wireless would not support the full-fledged streaming service and that it was not yet clear when this might change.
The company is also testing software that will make it easier for mobile phone users to upload videos from phones onto YouTube.com, potentially allowing for far greater use of video to document people’s everyday lives.
Desai did not say how YouTube plans to make money. Typically, YouTube and other Google services wait until they have found a large audience before the company seeks to introduce advertising to help pay for the service.
“Right now we are focused on building a user base on alternative screens and we’ll look at monetization in the future,” he said. Monetization is a code word among Internet companies for running advertising alongside Web content.
The service will run on select devices from U.S.-based Motorola Inc, South Korea’s LG Electronics, Finland’s Nokia and Sony Ericsson, jointly owned by Japan’s Sony Corp and Sweden’s Ericsson.
YouTube for Mobile will be available in 17 countries and 11 languages. More details can be found on the YouTube for Mobile site at m.youtube.com/.
Editing by Eric Auchard and Braden Reddall