Tuesday, November 28, 2006

YouPhone: Everybody wants some

I just read the announcement that YouTube and Verizon have inked a deal to provide "selected" YouTube videos on "selected" Verizon cell phones.

This kind of technology seems like a good fit. It's tough to watch a three-hour movie or even a 30-minute TV show on your cell phone, but the short-form, three to 5 minute videos that pervade YouTube would make for a good waiting-in-line-at-the-DMV diversion.

Given that, I'm confident that Verizon will find a way to screw this up. First, you already have to pay $15 to get the limited selection of videos on your phone (assuming your phone is compatible). This is only $15 more than it currently costs to see all of the content on YouTube proper. You think Apple will make this mistake when it integrates YouTube functionality into the next iPod? Me neither.

Next, Verizon will fail to leverage the biggest YouTube benefit. Probably the biggest strength of YouTube is that the site makes it easy to share video. Sure, having the content on the site is big, but even Google Video did that. With YouTube, a simple copy and past lets you embed the video in your website or email it to a friend.

Think Verizon will work that into their phone devices? Me neither.

But, it's a good step forward in making YouTube-type videos more mobile. I hope Sprint and Cingular are paying attention.

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