According to The New York Times
And now YouTube, conceived as a video hosting and sharing site, has become a bona fide search tool. Searches on it in the United States recently edged out those on Yahoo, which had long been the No. 2 search engine, behind Google. (Google, incidentally, owns YouTube.) In November, Americans conducted nearly 2.8 billion searches on YouTube, about 200 million more than on Yahoo, according to comScore.The Times also reported that You Tube's share of videos streamed soared to 40 percent in November from 17 percent in March 2007. What does this mean in real numbers? Well in November, 146 million Americans watched videos online, streaming a total of 12.6 billion video clips. That means YouTube streamed over 5 billion videos. In November 2008.
This startling statistic prompted Alex Iskold, the founder and chief executive of Adaptiveblue.com, a Web start-up, to ask in a blog post, “Is YouTube the next Google?” In other words, is YouTube effective as a mainstream search engine, and might it supplant or rival Google some day?" -- Read more on NYTimes
Don't fool yourself by saying that you or your friends don't use You Tube as primary search. Look at the data, and follow the trend.
As they say in real estate, it's Location, Location, Location. Put another way, if people are looking for information on You Tube and you're not there, then you don't exist.
See also Alex Iskold, Is You Tube the Next Google? as he helps me to rethink You Tube:
Kids no longer learn about the world by reading text. Like the television generation, they are absorbing the world through their visual sense. But there is a big difference. Television was programmed and inflexible. YouTube is completely micro-chunked and on demand. Kids can search for what they need anytime. This is different, and powerful.Better have a video strategy! (And better have access to YouTube from desktops in dot-gov!)
True, the current model of YouTube is still raw and still skewed to entertainment. But imagine online video 5 years from now, geared to kids, where entertainment, games, education, travel -- everything for kids -- is mixed and delivered via searchable channels. This would be a big change on the Internet and in the world. Just as we no longer think twice about Googling, kids of the future will be consuming huge volumes of information via video. --Read it all.