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Yahoo Japan fires up mobile YouTube rival

Yahoo Videocast is like YouTube, but with a full-fledged mobile side and better-educated commenters.

With new video-sharing websites arriving faster than British TV phone-in scandals, YouTube had better start looking over its shoulder for fast-approaching rivals like the latest site from Yahoo.

Currently a Japan-only project, Yahoo Videocast launched there today with a strong emphasis on allowing users to upload and watch videos from their mobile phones.

Phones and PCs treated equally

The company says any phone that can handle video should be compatible with the new service - failing that, the site can also be accessed from a PC, giving access to exactly the same features.

These including the usual comments, quick charts rating (for both the user and the community) each clip in different areas, such as how surprising, cool or interesting it is, and downloads that allow for offline viewing at any time. Naturally, downloads are DRM-protected and can't be forwarded to other computers or phones.

With Yahoo by far the most popular search engine in Japan and the company as a whole even more high-profile than it is in the West, the chances of success for Videocast look good there. Next stop the world.