Posted:
A couple of weeks ago we quietly launched a new and easier way to share private videos: now you can generate a special URL for your private video and send it to up to 25 people, who, assuming they're logged in to YouTube, just have to click to view. This should make it a lot easier for your technology-challenged relatives to watch that video of baby's first steps without having to share it with the whole world.

A neat thing about this feature was that it was an outcome of a recent "hackday" here at YouTube. Hackdays are similar in spirit to "20% time" -- the amount of time in a week engineers at Google/YouTube are encouraged free think and innovate on projects they're passionate about. These efforts allow us to focus on launching smaller features that aren't on our official roadmaps but that we hope are still worthwhile for our users. Anyway, this hackday came with donuts, which were delicious and way too tempting for me to resist. I also had a strong personal motivation for figuring this out: I'm in a hip-hop dance group, and the troupe wanted to share practice videos without going through the process of becoming Friends on YouTube.

Even without any official announcement (until this post, that is!), uptake and usage of this feature has been strong. Here you can see the growth of private-videos-per-day using friend-to-friend sharing versus the new URL-sharing:



So test it out: go here and click on Edit on any one of your videos. Scroll down to "Broadcasting and Sharing Options," and you should see the privacy settings there. Click on Private to unlock the different ways of sharing the video, including the option to generate a limited-access URL. You can find out more about private videos in this Help Center article.

Mike Lambert, Software Engineer, recently watched a friend's private video.

Posted:
Music Licensing: It's complicated. Let's face it. But today all of that is beside the point: we are happy to announce that Warner Music Group (WMG)'s artists are returning home to YouTube. Under this new, multi-year global agreement, you will be able to discover, watch and share Warner music on the site. The partnership covers the full Warner catalog and includes user-generated content containing WMG acts.

With Warner on board, we now have artists from all four of the major music labels & publishers together with hundreds of indie labels and publishers on our platform. Warner will also be able to sell their own ad inventory and will use our Content ID technology to claim and monetize user-generated videos uploaded to YouTube by Warner Music fans. The partnership is based on a revenue share generated from the ads on the videos, and this makes good business sense for everyone involved: artists and labels can make money from their videos and the YouTube community gets to enjoy them.

But enough talk... let's get back to the rock. Warner's videos will begin appearing on YouTube in the near future.

Chris Maxcy, Director of YouTube Partner Development

Posted:

We love to brag about successful projects that happen in our community, and so when we heard about DFTBA Records, the label that's all about acts that rose up on YouTube, run by YouTube stalwarts/songwriters Alan Lastufka (fallofautumndistro) and Hank Green (vlogbrothers), we just knew this had to be the subject of a Music Tuesday spotlight. Thus, on the homepage today is a DFTBA showcase, including a premiere of "Live on the Internet" from comedy duo Rhett & Link (cameo alert! a certain rapper appears in the video). You can also hear Hank and Alan talk about why they started DFTBA -- which, by the way, stands for "don't forget to be awesome" -- and experience a taste of their own music.

To date, DFTBA Records has released 10 CDs from YouTube stars like Dave Days, Venetian Princess, and Rhett & Link, and sales have surpassed $100,000. They operate as an independent distribution network, managing digital sales, CD production and (soon) merchandise for popular users like Michael Buckley. So if you're a talented YouTube user with an original song to sing, you may want to check out their site for more details on how to participate...and be even more awesome.

Michele Flannery, YouTube Music, recently favorited "Wildbirds & Peacedrums - My Heart"

Posted:
We talked trash about giving ourselves two months to get more fans on Facebook than some well-known celebs, and though we're now totaling 3.65 million fans and have gained nearly 600K since embarking upon this journey, we simply could not catch up to Adam Sandler (3.69M), let alone Lady Gaga (4.02M), Will Smith (4.45M), Megan Fox (4.91M), or Vin Diesel (6.31M). Sigh.

But it's OK! Something good is coming out of this: as penance for our hubris, we asked our Facebook fans to choose which nonprofits should appear on our homepage today, in the first-ever spotlight determined by our Facebook followers. Over 1,800 of them voted on a list of nonprofits with great videos; nearly a third of Facebook voters chose charity:water, whose commendable use of YouTube and social media in general has been well documented. The rest of the votes shook out as so:
We're pleased to be featuring the top 4 winners on the homepage today. It's made the bitter pill of defeat a whole lot easier to swallow.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits Manager, recently watched "George Clooney Wants to Hear From You."

Posted:
We'd like to introduce you to the Creator's Corner, a new hub for aspiring video-makers. This section of the site brings together all the information a budding artiste could want to know about making videos, including:
We think of this as just the beginning: we're currently working on setting up some Webinars to help you take your video-making to the next level, and we're seeking out some of the most accomplished video producers on YouTube to grill them on the techniques, inspiration and secrets behind their videos. (First up: read about tilt-shifting and timelapse in Keith Loutit's "Metal Heart" video.)

In addition, we're eager to expand our badge gallery, so if you have an awesome graphic you'd like to share with others to help them advertise their YouTube presence on their own site, email it to ytcreators@gmail.com and we'll consider it for inclusion on the page. If we do add your graphic to the Corner, we'll be sure to credit you there and send you a T-shirt as thanks.

So please give the site a whirl and let us know what you think -- and what you'd like to see -- in the comments below or in the forum.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched "The Old City of Dubrovnik."

Posted:
Favicon is short for "Favorites Icon" and it is a square icon that often appears in your Web browser's address bar or in your list of bookmarks.

An enterprising blogger at Typophile recently pointed out that our favicon was fairly unreadable in a post that caught our eye. We didn't disagree with him and so we took him up on his suggestion, made a few extra tweaks and have now launched it on the site. (It will take a few weeks to update in other areas on the Web.) You can see the improvement in the before-and-after graphic below. As you can hopefully tell, the favicon on the right is now much more clearly defined.










So thank you, Miha at Typophile, for calling that out and being the catalyst behind this change. You are among the many users who've inspired us to do better, and for that we've got a thank you gift with your name on it heading your way.

Margaret Stewart, User Experience Manager, recently favorited "Twits: Episode 1 - P. Diddy, Lindsay Lohan, Brooke Hogan."

Posted:
In December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to discuss a global agreement on climate change as part of the United Nations’ Climate Change Convention (often referred to as COP15). The goal of the meeting is to reduce global warming emissions and ultimately chart a course that avoids the most severe impacts of climate change.

The road to Copenhagen begins now, as heads of state flock to the United Nations in hopes of laying the groundwork for COP15. That's why today, with the Danish government, we're launching the YouTube COP15 channel, where you can you can raise your thoughts and questions on climate change through an initiative called "Raise Your Voice."

We know that you've never been afraid to make your opinions heard on this important issue, from uploading footage of road trips to halt climate change in India to creating humorous educational videos about global warming:



Now here's your chance to submit your most pressing questions about climate change to world leaders through YouTube. All approved entries will be broadcast on screens around COP15 in December and rated by viewers of the channel. The top-rated entries will be put in front of a panel of experts at an interactive debate that will be globally aired by YouTube/CNN International. Two winners will also receive a trip to Copenhagen to be present at the debate.


Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched "Facing the Floods"

Posted:
This graph fascinated us and so we wanted to share. It shows the number of videos that receive specific star ratings: one star for when you loathe something, five for when you love it. Judging from this chart, it looks like some of you are moved to rate videos when you don't like them, but the overwhelming majority of videos on YouTube have a stellar five-star rating:



Seems like when it comes to ratings it's pretty much all or nothing. Great videos prompt action; anything less prompts indifference. Thus, the ratings system is primarily being used as a seal of approval, not as an editorial indicator of what the community thinks about a video. Rating a video joins favoriting and sharing as a way to tell the world that this is something you love.

We're glad there are so many awesome videos on YouTube, but all of this begs the question: if the majority of videos are getting five stars, how useful is this system really? Would a thumbs up/thumbs down be more effective, or does favoriting do the trick of declaring your love for a video? These are just some of the questions we ask ourselves as we look at data like this and think about how to build the best, most efficient site for you.

What do you think? How useful are ratings? How do you use them? Please leave a comment below.

Shiva Rajaraman, Product Manager, recently rated "Dr Who and the Daleks."

Posted:
Today, in honor of the International Day of Peace, a UN-recognized global day of nonviolence and ceasefire, we're turning up the volume on this important issue by featuring peace-related film, music, and activism on the site.

In the Screening Room, we're running "The Day After Peace," an award-winning documentary that shows how Peace Day was created. See the trailer here, then head over to www.youtube.com/screeningroom to see the full-length feature:



YouTube users have also been making peace a priority by creating videos that inspire others to make the world a better place. You can take a spin through the entries to the "My Take on Peace" contest, which features content from celebs like Jude Law, Lenny Kravitz and Alanis Morissette, hear the moving story of the Bah twins whose experience as refugees has fueled their quest for non-violence, or find out "how to create peace" from user wickydkewl, a disciple of the "Free Hugs" movement:



How are you creating peace in your community? Submit your video here for the chance to win an HD camera, or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism Manager, recently watched "Banner Deployed at Niagara Falls."

Posted:
As a new school year unfolds, here's an assignment for America's students from the U.S. Department of Education and YouTube: in two minutes or less, make a video showing the nation and the world how education will help you achieve your dreams, and upload it to the submission platform on the Department of Education's YouTube channel.

The good news is that there are no failing grades and the top three submissions, as voted by the YouTube community, will each be issued a $1,000 prize by the DOE. Learn more about the "I Am What I Learn" video contest from Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education:



The contest is open to U.S. middle, high school, college and post-grad students, ages 13 and up, and the deadline to submit is October 20. For complete rules and FAQs, please visit www.ed.gov/iamwhatilearn.

Ramya Raghavan, News and Politics, recently watched "Media Multitaskers Pay Mental Price."

Posted:
We're back with a rundown of the new features and changes that went live recently:

Friend suggestions: As mentioned in a previous post, we've started the first phase of the "find your friends" project with a module on the homepage that makes friend suggestions based on the email addresses of people with whom you've shared videos on YouTube in the past. (Suggestions based on your Gmail address book will come soon.) Recommendations will be limited to people who have the "let someone find my channel if they have my email address" flag set.

Activity subscriptions: To this point, subscribing to someone meant never missing any of their uploads. But now, any new subscription you make will notify you of all public actions that user performs (uploads, favorites, ratings, comments, etc) in your Recent Activity module on the homepage. This should make it a lot easier to find cool videos: just see which videos your friends and other curators choose to interact with. (We've been calling this project "subtivity" internally.)

Trending Topics:
When there is a spike in searches on a given topic, we are beginning to tease that out on our browse pages to help you see what the world is watching on any given day. You might see the queries appear in a "Trending Topic" spotlight on that category's browse page or at the bottom of the page. We're testing how this performs and if it does well, we'll find a permanent home for it on the browse page and potentially more broadly on YouTube.

Sticky HQ:
When you switch to view a video in high quality and lean back to enjoy the wide player experience, having to lean forward again to switch the experience back on, video after video, can be a real chore. Moving forward, your choice is "sticky," meaning that when you "go wide" it will persist across your session. We're looking to make more of your video quality choices simpler and persistent so we'll be watching this one closely.

Effortless "More Comments":
Replacing the page-based system, we will now have a "Show More Comments" link at the bottom of comments that, when clicked, quickly appends 10 more comments to the end of the list.

New Discovery Features in Insight:
We've released three new features in our analytics tool that should give you more sophisticated ways of using Insight so you can better serve and understand your audience. Now you can access a "discovery over time" graph that combines data about your views with where those views came from; a "views from mobile" section where you can see which of your video's views came from mobile phones or platforms that use our APIs; and "views from subscribers" where you can more deeply understand how the homepage subscriptions module, the subscriptions page, and subscription email drive views of your videos. Full post in the Biz Blog.

Resume where you left off:
Let's say you're watching an epic (read: longer than 20 minutes) video, and you get distracted and click away. The next time you return to the video, it will resume where you left off watching, assuming you've watched more than one minute of the video and there are more than three minutes left.

Subscriptions comes to Shows, Movie Trailers:
Subscribe to your favorite shows on YouTube to never miss a new episode. Find the show you want to watch, go to its About page, click Subscribe, and episodes that hit your inbox will indicate the name of the show (as opposed to the name of the channel or provider). In addition, you can also subscribe to our movie trailers page to never miss any of these film promos.

Poster art in Movies:
Move over, thumbnails! Films in our movies section can now display vertical poster art if the partner provides it.

Comments welcome below or in our forum.

Best, The YouTube Team

Posted:
YouTube users voted on over 100 Fall TV previews, and the most anticipated show of the season is...drumroll, please...Mythbusters. Congratulations to Jamie and Adam, who busted some viral video myths last season and whose popularity with our community is definitely confirmed.

As for your other Fall TV treats, the top five fan favorites include a pair of returning shows and two newcomers. Coming in second place is cranky doctor House, and in third, a strong showing for newcomer The Vampire Diaries, perhaps reflecting how popular vampire books, movies and shows are on YouTube and in our culture at large right now. At four, perky new series Glee delivers musical high school comedy, and at five, the once-hot Heroes could be set to make a comeback.

Voting has closed, but you can still see a huge selection of TV teasers at our Fall TV destination.

Mark Day, YouTube Comedy, has "Caprica" on his Fall TV must-see list.

Posted:
Today is the International Day of Democracy and what better way to celebrate than to announce the second round of the Democracy Video Challenge, a partnership between YouTube, the State Department, and several public and private partners who want you to fill in the blank in this sentence: "Democracy is..."

Last year, over 900 videos were submitted from over 95 countries and the six winners are currently in the United States, touring film studios, the United Nations, and the State Department as part of their two-week, all-expenses-paid trip to the U.S. This morning, they appeared on the Today Show with Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale:


The second Democracy Video Challenge starts today, and you can learn more about it on the State Department's YouTube channel. If you're a filmmaker, a democracy advocate, or just someone who has an idea about what democracy means, head over to the State Department's channel and get to work completing the phrase “Democracy is…”

Just like last year, six regional winners will be selected by the public through online voting, and they'll receive an all-expenses paid trip to the United States that includes screenings of their videos in New York, Hollywood and Washington; meetings with film directors, public officials and democracy advocates from non-governmental organizations; and time on film and TV sets.

Learn more on the Democracy Video Challenge YouTube channel or on the State Department's website.

Steve Grove, News & Politics, recently watched, "MTV VMAs Remix: Kanye West Interrupts Obama's Speech."

Posted:
There's still technically some time for us to slink past Vin Diesel, Megan Fox, Will Smith, Lady Gaga and Adam Sandler in the race for the most Facebook fans, but with just 14 days left, we'll admit it's not looking good (though, Sandler, can you feel our hot breath on your neck?!). We've gained over 500K fans since announcing the challenge; thanks to each and every one of you who humored our chest-thumping and joined our Facebook group.

As realists, we'll start nibbling that humble pie we said we'd eat and begin planning how some good can come from this. So screw the celebs: we're going to let our loyal Facebook followers determine which charities get featured in an upcoming spotlight celebrating this challenge. On our Facebook page, you'll find a poll listing 10 nonprofits with great videos on YouTube, some of which you suggested in an earlier blog post. The four nonprofits with the most votes will be featured on the homepage on Sept. 28. It will be our first-ever spotlight determined by our Facebook fans and we hope you'll be a part of it. Click here to vote.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism Manager, recently favorited "President Clinton Wants You to Submit a Question."

Posted:
"Choose a different ending" is an interactive video describing the life of a teenager trying to survive the slums of London. The story, which is shot from a first-person point of view, lets viewers control the hero’s actions (e.g. deciding whether or not he should take his knife to school). Only when the plot reaches one of its grim endings do you realize that the video, commissioned by the London Metropolitan Police, is actually a powerful tool in helping youngsters cope with some of the tough decisions they are faced growing up in a violent environment. This interactive video is a great example of how annotations on YouTube have evolved in just one year: what started as a small-scale experiment is now changing visual storytelling on the web.



If you've seen "Annotations Man," one of many user-created tutorials about annotations, you would have learned that interactive video annotations are a set of simple tools that enable you to add text and hyperlinks directly onto your videos. The feature was originally launched in the summer of 2008; since then, we've seen the featuring being put to use with increasing sophistication to:
  • Provide dynamic commentary: Basically, this means placing a layer of comments on a video; things like director comments, pet dubbing clips, and how-to tips for everything from origami to guitar lessons.
  • Add interactive links and menus: Many video-makers use the links to direct traffic to other videos and to create spatial video menus.
  • Create branching story-lines: Unlike the above two types, which maintain the individual video as the comprehensive story unit, this third group emphasizes a collection of videos organized in a hierarchical structure as a new format of storytelling. Here we find a wide spectrum of use cases, including interactive advertisements, murder mysteries and even wacky dating tips.

We really find it hard to imagine that all this happened in just one year, and can't wait to see how you might knock us out in 2010. So go ahead and choose your own ending…

Michael Fink, Software Engineer, recently favorited "Annotize me!"

Posted:
Today, in honor of 9/11, many Americans are using YouTube to share their stories and forge connections with fellow citizens. Some, like this user, are hoping to create community by uploading their experiences from the day, and encouraging fellow YouTube users to do the same. Others are speaking out in remembrance of loved ones they lost eight years ago:



At the same time, other citizens are choosing to commemorate 9/11 through service. Today marks the first official "9-11 Day of Service," a nationally-recognized event that aims to capture the sense of unity and compassion among Americans that followed September 11, 2001. Learn more about the initiative here:



Tens of thousands of volunteers are expected to turn out to paint and refurbish homes, run food drives, improve schools, reclaim neighborhoods, and support and honor veterans and first responders as part of the Day of Service. To learn more about the effort, click here or to find a service event near you, please visit www.allforgood.org.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched "102 Minutes That Changed America"

Posted:
YouTube has always been a place for you to share and enjoy videos with family and friends. Soon, we'll be making it even easier for you to find people you know on the site. We'll start by launching a "You may know these people" suggestions box on the homepage over the next few weeks that shows you the YouTube channels of people who might be your acquaintances, and lets you easily connect and subscribe to them.

How will we make the suggestions? If you've logged in to YouTube and sent a video to a friend's email address, or if you have your YouTube account linked to a Gmail account, we will use this information to help identify your friends who already have YouTube channels. You'll only see channels whose owners have allowed themselves to be found by others who have their email address.

Want to see if you've previously allowed your channel to be found by others who have your email address, or want to change your settings? Just log in and visit the "Privacy" section of My Account. Look for the checkbox at the top that says "Let others find my channel on YouTube if they have my email address."

Elizabeth Windram, Senior User Experience Designer, recently watched
"Folding-Time at Burning Man 2005: One Month at The Man."

Posted:
Although the United States Congress was out on recess for most of August, the debate over health care reform was hotter than ever this last month, as the lively town hall meetings and non-stop stumping by politicians has shown.

You can watch President Obama address a joint session of Congress and the nation tonight at 8 pm ET to lay out the White House's plan for health care reform. We'll be live-streaming the address on YouTube on the White House channel (youtube.com/whitehouse), so make sure to tune in.



Olivia Ma, News Manager, recently watched Senator Al Franken draws map of USA

Posted:
Okay, YouTube -- it's time to trade in those water balloons for some #2 pencils. A new school year is upon us!

Thankfully, an organization called Architecture for Humanity (AFH) is trying to make the idea of heading back to school a bit more palatable. Earlier this year, they launched a competition for architects to design a "classroom of the future" and address the challenges schools face in trying to provide smart, safe and sustainable learning spaces.

A large number of entrants used YouTube to convey student input on their designs. This mashup shows how youth from schools around the world were involved in the planning process. Students also learned how to use various building tools through a YouTube series sponsored by AFH. In this video, students are taught to do modeling using Google Sketchup:



Architecture for Humanity had over 1,000 teams from 65 countries participate in the challenge and today they announced the winner, who will receive up to $50,000 to build or upgrade a classroom. Here's a video about the winning design from the Teton Valley Community School:



Interesting features of the Teton Valley project include a building that is heated and cooled geo-thermally, a greenhouse, and an outdoor area for each grade level.

What features do you think are essential to the classroom of the future? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched "Jazz Guitar Lesson."

Posted:
Lots of good news to report since we last spoke about Adopt a Feature v2. This round, the number of submissions to the program more than doubled -- 76 videos were made about annotations, tags, Quicklist, mobile uploads, the customized homepage and a few other features -- and in all they were viewed 407,994 times. Annotations were the most popular feature to adopt by far, and you had a lot of fun with it: KOHPelord literally brought an annotation to life to explain the feature, while DeStorm envisioned a superhero named "Annotation Man" to save the day.

But the most-viewed video of the bunch, and thus the winner of this edition of Adopt a Feature, was MikeandToneRP's exploration of tags, featuring an off-kilter "Megan Fox," viewed nearly 80K times. Congratulations, Mike! Look out for a YouTube T-shirt headed your way.

In addition, many current and past Adopt a Feature videos have found permanent, loving homes in our Help Center, where they can "give back" by enlightening anyone looking for more info. The list below covers just some of the places you'll find your tutorial videos helping other users out:
Hunter Walk, Director, Product Management, recently favorited "Metal Heart by Keith Loutit - in HD."