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While it can't seem to get round to its promise to fire up a brilliant algorithm for removing copyrighted videos, Google has developed another way of making money for itself from YouTube.

Websites in the US AdSense network can allow Google to pump them with context-sensitive YouTube clips and adverts. The clips will appear surrounded by a border containing banner ads. Google's calling the package a "video unit". There's an example at the AdSense blog here.

For now at least, videos will come only from approved YouTubers towards the more professional end of the scale, so sadly no cats falling down stairs. And no proper telly nicked off Viacom, either. The cash from the surfers clicking the ads will be split three ways between the video producer, Google, and the host site.

Only about 100 producers have been okayed so far, so the context sensitivity isn't going to be great. The cash-in does mark the beginning of Google's move into content as well as ad distribution. Assuming the range improves, expect to see the many small sites that already embed YouTube clips carrying the ads. The relevance of the videos will remain a worry for bigger outfits.

There's no word yet on when video units will launch for sites outside the US. ®

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