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Video added to Google Apps

Google wants to offer some of YouTube's technology to make it easier, cheaper, and more secure for companies to distribute video to employees.

Google is introducing video into Google Apps with the hope that companies will be attracted to a service that helps with training and internal communication but also removes the hassles of hosting video.

According to Google executives who spoke to CNET News last week, the search giant has tailored some of the technology developed by YouTube specifically for corporate clients. The offering is part of Google's continuing efforts to replace traditional office software with so-called cloud-computing services.

With the help of Google Video for Business, a company's employees can upload and share clips with the same ease as posting a clip to YouTube, according to Matt Glotzbach, Google's product manager director.

"Think of this as user-generated video for businesses," Glotzbach said.

A demo video provided to reporters illustrated the ways that Google employees use the service, which goes live to the public on Tuesday.

One Google executive said during the demo that instead of distributing an e-mail with a wrap-up of quarterly results to his team, he posted a clip of himself discussing the quarter. It was more personable than just sending an e-mail "especially for Google employees that work in remote offices" the video's narrator said.

The coolest feature by far is the Scene Browser, which presents a series of thumbnails that a user can click on to locate a specific segment within a video. It's slick and one has to wonder why it isn't offered on YouTube. Glotzbach said he didn't know for certain but speculated that it might be because YouTube's clips are generally shorter in length.

Some of the service's other features enable administrators to track usage, and employees can leave comments, insert tags, and embed a video into any Web page. Companies control who sees the video because only authorized users are able to watch.

The service will be wrapped inside the Google Apps Premier Edition which costs $50 a year per user. For that price, each user receives all the Google Apps, such as Gmail, Docs, and Calendar.

Glotzbach said Google has an opportunity to cash in on corporate video, a segment that many predicted would one day be huge but has been too complicated and costly for wide adoption. For Gmail, the company offers 25GB per mailbox. For Google Video, the company offers 3GB per user.

Google is hoping that companies will flock to a service that doesn't require them to host servers or worry about huge amounts of data. This is a bottom's up approach, according to Glotzbach. It used to be that companies were willing only to pay for high-level executives to make videos for internal communication, but Google Video for Business enables a company to allow employees at any level to distribute video content.