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Google's Episodic buy could make YouTube ready for its closeup

Finally, April Fool’s Day is over and we can get back to real news. While Google may have pulled a few pranks yesterday, today it’s all business. Episodic, an online-video hosting company based in San Francisco, today announced that is has been aquired by Google, according to the company’s blog. No financial information was disclosed.

There’s an obvious fit with Google’s YouTube, a $1.65 billion that made Google a player in online video but that it has struggled to justify to Wall Street. Episodic’s video platform could help Google find more ways to make money from online video — a possibility The Next Web describes as “YouTube Pro.” Currently, YouTube enters into revenue-sharing agreements with video creators but doesn’t charge them, according to Chris Dale, a YouTube spokesman.

That said, Google has historically taken for-pay services and turned them into free services that help build its advertising revenues. One example is Urchin, a paid Web-traffic-measurement startup which became the free Google Analytics service.

A more likely possibility is that Google will use Episodic to boost YouTube’s appeal to creators of professional content, which draws more interest from advertisers than the amateur clips (think skateboarding cats and Hitler mashups) on the site.

Episodic’s services help publishers and marketers to broadcast both live and on-demand content anywhere on the Web or to mobile devices. Features of the platform include analytics, content management, encoding, playback, advertising monetization and syndication.

The aquisition won’t change much at the moment. Episodic’s team will continue video work. The company also notes that current customers will see no distruption to their service. (If you’re interested in testing the platform, a free 30-day trial is available here.)

Update: Here’s a generic statement from Google on the acquisition:

We are impressed by the Episodic team, the vision they have for Internet video, and the progress they have made in bringing a great video experience to the web. We look forward to working with this talented group of individuals, and the technology they’ve created, to continue to deliver a powerful and flexible platform to our partners.