Google News down - but bounces back with YouTube

Google News was inaccessible for many on Thursday morning. But when it returned some news headlines now feature a small YouTube logo. Clicking on it triggers an embedded YouTube player with a news video - although there's a long lag.

Google News was inaccessible for many on Thursday morning. But when it re-emerged, it sported news videos hosted at YouTube.

Reports indicate that Google and Gmail are also experiencing technical difficulties. The service appears to be back as of noon EDT in New York city, but packets were still being lost around the globe.

Some news headlines now feature a small YouTube logo. Clicking on it triggers an embedded YouTube player with a news video, though my attempts involved a long lag between clicking the icon and getting the video.

The videos are from professional sources including Associated Press, France 24, United Press International, and WIVB in Buffalo, N.Y.

The move not only increases the profile of video news within Google News, but also potentially increases the incentive for news organizations to work with YouTube. And it makes Google News more of a hub for news consumption, rather than just a mechanism for referring readers and viewers to other sites.

Some prominent media executives have been attacking Google, asserting it benefits more from professionally produced content than it gives back. Google argues that it sends billions of readers to news sites through Google News, whose results are sometimes blended into the main Google search results as well.

Earlier this year, Google began showing paid advertisements on Google News, too, when people perform searches.

Google News may be influential, but it's not perfect. The site was down Thursday morning for users in Boston, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, Texas, and Sarasota, Fla., but worked for one user in London. One CNET News reader reported that the outage began at least at 5:50 a.m. PDT; service appeared to return for people between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. PDT.

Google later confirmed the outage.

"Earlier today, Google News was temporarily unavailable for many users from approximately 3:30 a.m. until around 7 a.m. Pacific Time. This issue has now been resolved," the company said in a statement. "We know how important Google News is to our users, so we take issues like this very seriously. We apologize to those users who were affected."

Twitter search, which can be a useful gauge of whether a problem with a Web site outage is widespread, showed many other reports as well.

News on YouTube itself isn't new; YouTube has a news channel, and Google has been encouraging citizen journalists to add their own content.

And YouTube, of course, is a force to be reckoned with in online video. Of the 9.5 billion video streams delivered online in the U.S. during April, 5.5 billion of them, or 58 percent, were through YouTube, according to statistics from Nielsen Online on Thursday. And while online video stream delivery grew 24 percent annually for the April overall, it grew 36 percent for YouTube--meaning that it's not only large, but it's also gaining share.

However, Hulu, which hosts video from NBC, Fox, and now Disney, is growing faster, Nielsen said. It's in second place with 373,000 streams delivered in April, or 4 percent share, but its annual growth was 490 percent, Nielsen said.

This article was originally posted on CNET News. Andy Smith added to this story.