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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Google Starts Local Version of Video Web Site YouTube

Google on Tuesday started a Russian version of video-sharing web site YouTube.

"By creating a Russian site, we now have a home page that features videos from Russian users, and we will give professional-content leaders better competitive advantage by using the local language," Patrick Walker, Google's head of content partnerships, said by telephone from London.

Walker said that aside from making instructions and comment posting simpler, the localized site, available at YouTube.ru, would also improve the results of search queries made using Russian terms.

In a bid to gain a foothold in the fast-growing online video market, Microsoft last week also launched Soapbox, its own answer to YouTube, as part of its localized version of Windows Live, a set of services and software accessible online.

Even without Microsoft, however, Google has a myriad of firmly entrenched local online video providers to contend with, including RuTube, owned by Oryol-based Universal Information Systems, and Video@Mail.Ru, part of the Mail.ru service.

RuTube, which debuted last year, quickly garnered a strong following and now has 150,000 daily users and more than 20 million video views per month, according to Alexa Internet, which collects information on global web traffic. Video@Mail.Ru's hosts more than 2 million videos for a monthly audience of 4 million users.

As analog programs are digitized, more and more local television channels are taking their entertainment content to Video@Mail.Ru and TV Click, another new arrival, to be broadcast in real time.

Walker said the range and popularity of online video companies was indicative of the vibrance of the market. But only YouTube has the global reach to enable Russians to "communicate with the world in a way impossible before," Walker said.