I think they do, and I found this article from Weblogs founder and Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis that seems to think the same.
Is the potential Google evolution ... Organiser ---> Distributor ---> Creator.
Personally, I think they're moving along the phases as they realise outside of search there's limited dollars to be had purely being a facilitator of information. YouTube is great but what does it mean to users. Does it have a personality? I'd say no ... and advertisers want personalities in the brands they align their own assets to advertising wise.