Google Video has gone through many transformations through the years. Even the concept behind the service has gone through several transformations as they try and find their own spot on the web where they can thrive.
The very first iteration of Google Video ironically had nothing to do with delivering video to users. Rather, it was a place you could go to search closed caption text from television broadcasts it gathered -- minus the ability to watch the results. Google soon figured out that this service was useless, and with the rising of YouTube, they took the opportunity to create a competing video hosting service.
As a video hosting service, they struggled to gain significant market share because there was really no reason for people to abandon their YouTube accounts and switch to a service that nobody else uses. So Google decided to buy YouTube to make their life a little bit easier.
Once they had YouTube, Google Video seemed all very redundant. In some ways, it still is because users are able to host videos, but they have taken another turn to be more of an online video aggregator. Now (actually it has been like this for a while) users can search videos from many different video networks like YouTube, Meta Cafe, and even Google Video. This is where Google Video belongs -- a search engine for videos.
The newest design of Google Video hasn't really changed the concept, but it's a lot nicer to use. It has pretty much all the features the previous version had, but with significant usability improvements overall. Even the framed page you see when you click on a video to watch is a lot less intrusive -- it's on the left side of the page rather than the top, and it's easy to minimize without completely getting rid of it. The sidebar is helpful when you want to see related videos across video services.
I really like the new design -- what do you think?