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Google could buy YouTube this week

Proposed $1.6bn deal about to happen?

Speculation that Google is about to acquire video-sharing phenomenon YouTube gathered pace over the weekend.

News agencies have given credence to The Wall Street Journal's claims that the two companies are discussing $1.6bn deal, while other internet giants, including Yahoo and News Corp (owner of MySpace) have also been picked out as possible suitors. One proposed deal has already been turned down, according to reports, while others claim official news could be announced this week.

YouTube has seen dramatic growth this year and now streams more than 100 million videos per day to web users around the world. However, its inability or unwillingness to control the content that users upload and view has been heavily criticised by the television industry. Content providers are often unwilling for their creations to be made freely available online, and one media organisation – the Los Angeles News Service – has already filed a lawsuit to protect its coverage.

Google has been pinpointed as the most obvious candidate to acquire YouTube as it's keen to expand its online video-sharing services. The company has already launched Google Video, but the service has been unable to compete with YouTube in terms of user numbers.

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