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Search engine Google Inc. on Thursday launched an Australian version of its video hosting site, Google Video, that will include content from domestic media groups.

The site follows will offer video snippets posted by the public as well as material from media companies including the Australian Broadcasting Corp., television’s Network Ten television and newspaper company Fairfax Digital.

Initially, user-generated and professional content would be ad-free and available for download at no cost, said Richard Kimber, Google’s managing director of Southeast Asia.

But Google might later go for a pay-for downloads model later introduce an advertising revenue sharing system similar to that used on other areas of Google sites.

“There are various models we could pursue and different advertisers will want to try different things,” Kimber said. “But we don’t like interruption media, so any advertisements would have to be relevant and integrate nicely with the user experience.”

Kimber said online video was a huge growth area on the internet.

“The technology has become accessible and increasing bandwidth has made it easy for people to express themselves and share their content with one another,” he said.

“We have a very strong list of content providers at launch and this is clear evidence of the demand in the Australian market for an online video service powered by Google.”