YouTube, Coming Soon to Your Cell Phone

We’ve been hearing about the possibilities of YouTube pushing mobile for awhile. A few people we have talked with in the mobile industry have said that the company has been burning the midnight oil working on getting a mobile offering out as soon as possible. Now it looks like YouTube CEO Chad Hurley said at an advertising conference that the company hopes to “have something on a mobile device within the next year.” YouTube already offers uploading from video-enabled phones, but hasn’t released any other major mobile services to date.

YouTube’s mobile strategy remains unclear, but the company has options. The company could do a carrier deal and work within the carrier deck or go straight to consumer. The company has a relationship with Cingular, though it’s strictly marketing for now, but carriers are way more squeamish about copyright issues than YouTube’s recent acquirer Google. The company can build a WAP site and java client and go off deck — Google has often gone direct to consumer with mobile applications, though has been starting to do a few carrier deals more recently. Mobile YouTube on or off deck could actually dramatically grow wireless data usage, so the carriers will begrudgingly like them no matter what they do.

Already startups are creating sharing-services using mobile devices, like Juice Wireless and Veeker. Using standard MMS and video camera phone content, the technology is not that hard to create a service. Taking video clips in all their various forms and porting that to the endless amounts of mobile devices is where the complexity lies. Many of the mobile video sharing companies are focusing on a web interface first while trying to tackle a mobile interface.

Given Google’s recent $1.65 billion purchase of the company, there’s been a lot of speculation about what a Gootube mobile offering would look like. We’re not sure, but the combination could be pretty powerful.