Google's Universal Search = YouTube Masterstroke

So Google is rolling out its universal search GUI and blending listings from its video, news, local, images and book search engines among those it gathers from crawling Web pages.

This is how Google will monetize YouTube. Google understands that video is popular enough that you don't have to sell advertising in the video, like a pre-roll. That's not the most efficient way to monetize the user experience. Especially considering that pre-rolls work best when the user already trusts the content he/she is about to view. Like VideoEgg's Matt Sanchez said during my panel at Streaming Media East yesterday: If a user knows they're about to watch Law & Order, they might sit through a pre-roll. But they won't sit through a pre-roll if they're unsure of the entertainment pay-off.

And that's what YouTube is: A community of uncertain payoffs. Bad for pre-rolls.

So instead: Sell ads around video searches. As video becomes more popular -- and not just on YouTube, on every video site -- people will search for those videos more often on Google. Even better, for Google, YouTube's rising tide lifts all boats. In this case the boats = other video sites. Monetize those, too. Turn Google Video into a meta search engine for all types of video.

Bet the networks won't like this, though. Remember when Google integrated YouTube search results in Google Video, thereby bumping up YouTube visits by almost 20 percent? The networks were peeved. Jeff Zucker lashed out at Google. Viacom issued its 100,000 video takedown, a preamble to their lawsuit. Google had just upped the ante, and now they've done it again.