Google is adding video collaboration to its growing Apps family with the formal announcement of Google Video for business . However, the announcement has been overshadowed by “leaked” news of an even bigger push: confirmation of the long-expected move by Google into the browser space.

The video move is a logical step for Google, given the extent to which video is becoming embedded in websites and everyday online consumer activity. Google’s plan is to make the simplicity of consumer video available to businesses so that they do not need specialist admins or expensive storage and encoding subsystems to capitalise on the appeal of video for sharing information.

“Video has been democratised by devices having cameras built in to things like YouTube, but running these sorts of services inside a business can be very complex and costly so you end up with only the wealthiest companies doing it, and even then only in silos,” said Dave Armstrong, Google product marketing manager.

Google anticipates that firms will use the new Apps capability to upload speeches by company leaders, training materials, events and so on so that they can be viewed by employees. The technology is based on code from YouTube and Google Video and supports the familiar comments, ratings and metadata tagging; users can also jump ahead to specific scenes. Videos can be saved in standard or high definition and can be downloaded or embedded in Google Sites and other websites that accept Google Gadgets. Maximum video size is 300MB.

The possible catch for some organisations is that Video for business is only available to Google Apps Premier Edition customers as part of the £25/€40 per user per year fee. Also, it can only be accessed by users on the same domain so firms wishing to share video materials with value-chain partners could be frustrated. Google’s Armstrong said this policy could be revisited depending on customer feedback.

The Video for business story was understandably swamped when Google sent out a comic introducing its open source browser effort, called Chrome. In a blog, the firm said that it had accidentally “hit ‘send’ a bit early”.

Chrome, currently in beta for Windows, is being brought to market because Google sees a need to “completely rethink the browser” to create “a modern platform for web pages and applications”. As with Google’s home search page, the idea will be to have a clean, fast platform, and tabs will operate in their own sandboxes to improve robustness and security.

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