This is from the "I had no idea" department. It turns out that Storyful, a news curation and verification service, actually verifies the YouTube videos that appear on Google's Crisis maps. In recent days, that means the company has been verifying Sandy videos. Google has a contract with the company to do that curation. What does Storyful do? Per its FAQ:
Storyful has spent the last two years developing a verification process for high-value video content. This process includes some of the following workflows:
(I) Engagement with the member of the community who shared the video in an effort to establish the identity of the original uploader.
(II) Translation of every word that comes with a video for additional context.
(III) Review of the uploader’s history to see whether he/she has shared useful and credible content in the past, or if he/she is simply ‘scraping’ other people's videos.
(IV) Use of Google street view/maps/satellite imagery to help verify the locations in a video.
(V) Consultation with other news sources to conﬁrm events in a video happened as they were described.
(VI) Examination of key features in a video such as weather and background landscape to see if they match known facts on the ground.
That's the kind of thing that would make me choose one social media map over another. I wonder if the company will branch out to other media like flickr and Twitter?