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Search engine giant Google looks set to acquire video-sharing website YouTube in a 1.6 billion deal.

Google is hoping to attract new audiences after its own video-sharing service Google Video has been unable to achieve the same level of market penetration as YouTube has since its launch.

According to figures quoted by the BBC, YouTube currently gets around 20 million visitors a month and Google will hope to cash in on potential advertising revenues if the acquisition goes through as expected some time this week.

Commenting on the success of YouTube, Chris Green, technology editor at IT Pro magazine told the BBC: "YouTube is one of those great sort of hobbyist ideas that’s grown into a much more successful business, mostly by word of mouth and just by hitting the right note at the right time."

Mr Green went to suggest that the multi-billion pound deal would represent an "easy win" for Google, which it is believed would retain the YouTube brand name.

YouTube was founded in February 2005 and its video-sharing services remain free for its millions of worldwide users.