A growing number of handheld devices are capable of recording video. YouTube wants to disconnect users from their Web cams and computers, said Steve Chen, one of the company's founders and its chief technology officer.
Most user-created clips are taken with Web and digital video cameras, Chen said. The new service will likely produce greater numbers of spontaneous and candid clips.
"The good thing about it is that you don't have to go home to YouTube anymore," Chen said. "People may not carry their digital cameras with them when they go out. But everybody carries their cell phone...I'm interested in seeing what kind of content this will produce."
Privately held YouTube isWeb sites and among dozens of companies that have begun offering Internet video over the past year. Based in San Mateo, Calif., YouTube says it sees 12 million unique visitors and averages about 1.2 billion viewings per month. While this new mobile service is free, analysts are waiting to see how the company will cash in on all that traffic.
In the meantime, the company continues to expand services.
The new mobile offering works this way: YouTube members can create a mobile profile on the site and YouTube will create a unique e-mail address where they can send videos.
Members can shoot clips with their cell phone and e-mail them to YouTube, where the clips are automatically posted under the users' profile.