Better video compression is a good thing, but better content is better still. As Google today announced its purchase of On2 Technologies and its compression technology, on-demand services like Hulu and those from Netflix and Amazon are making Google's YouTube look more than merely slow.
YouTube is first generation Internet video, in concept if not (soon) in compression technology. As competitors become sharper, YouTube becomes duller. YouTube is a constant reminder that some people have no shame and even Google's search technology can't make the site tremendously more useful, especially for business users.
Sure, YouTube is a good way to waste a lot of time watching stupid people tricks. But, actual usefulness either as an entertainment or business tool is elusive. Of course, if you just need a place that will make your home movie too available to the rest of the world, YouTube is a world-beater. And, yes, you can find my stupid videos there, too. My Flip camera makes it just too easy.
For me, YouTube becomes sillier and more irrelevent almost almost daily. If I want video entertainment online, I head over to Hulu, where plenty of good old (and some new) TV shows are available for free. If I want to pay for content, Apple is my first choice. You might choose Netflix or Amazon.
Business video has yet to find a home. I am becoming loath to embed YouTube in my own sites because of the other content the site displays along with my own. I am not crazy about hosting my own video, but if I could pay someone to make embedding video as easy as YouTube and offer me a lot more control, I'd consider it.
I am not saying that Google shouldn't invest in better video compression. I am all for faster downloads and saving bandwidth, it's just that Google's video issues go a lot deeper and the problems are not in my set.