Search engine giant Google is to buy video sharing start-up YouTube in a $1.65bn (£0.88bn) deal.
Google has its own video search engine, Google Video, which also allows users to upload their own clips. But Google said YouTube would continue to operate independently “to preserve its successful brand and passionate community”.
YouTube’s continued separate identity would strengthen and complement Google’s existing video service, the company said.
The search giant also sees the combined companies offering new opportunities for professional content owners to distribute their work to a wide audience.
Google chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said, “The YouTube team has built an exciting and powerful media platform that complements Google's mission to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
“Our companies share similar values; we both always put our users first and are committed to innovating to improve their experience. Together, we are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers.”
YouTube co-founder and chief executive, Chad Hurley, said, “By joining forces with Google, we can benefit from its global reach and technology leadership to deliver a more comprehensive entertainment experience for our users and to create new opportunities for our partners.”