Google, the online search behemoth, agreed yesterday to pay $1.65 billion in stock for the Web site that came out of that party — YouTube, the video-sharing phenomenon that is the darling of an Internet resurgence known as Web 2.0.

YouTube had been coveted by virtually every big media and technology company, as they seek to tap into a generation of consumers who are viewing 100 million short videos on the site every day. Google is expected to try to make money from YouTube by integrating the site with its search technology and search-based advertising program.

But the purchase price has also invited comparisons to the mind-boggling valuations that were once given to dozens of Silicon Valley companies a decade ago. Like YouTube, those companies were once the Next Big Thing, but some soon folded.

Google, with a market value of $132 billion, can clearly afford to take a gamble with YouTube, but the question remains: How to put a price tag on an unproven business?

“If you believe it’s the future of television, it’s clearly worth $1.6 billion,” Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, said of YouTube. “If you believe something else, you could write down maybe it’s not worth much at all.”

Get the full story at The New York Times

View a message from Chad and Steve, founders of YouTube on Google acquisition

Read Google's press release on the YouTube acquistion