The new YouTube is reminiscent of Flickr’s redesign earlier this year — putting the content, in this case the videos, front and center. The new YouTube offers larger videos closer to the top of the page; the title is now below the video, just above the various sharing options.
The left of the page is home to YouTube’s new “Guide,” a list of all the YouTube channels you’re subscribed to, along with your history and video playlists. The YouTube Guide now comes with you across devices, offering up new videos and suggestions on everything from Android phones to Google TV.
The other notable change is that the page is no longer centered, it’s aligned to the left edge of the browser window. The result is a slightly less cluttered page with more emphasis on the video, though the dead space to the right looks a bit strange if you’ve got a large monitor.
Good news Google Video users, Google has given the video sharing site a reprieve. Early this month Google announced it would shut down Google Video’s hosting services on April 29. Now Google has abandoned that deadline and is offering a new option to export your movies directly to the company’s far more popular YouTube video hosting.
In a moment of candor Google has admitted that the lack of YouTube export option in the original announcement was a bad idea. “We … should have done better,” writes Mark Dochtermann, Engineering Manager at Google, on the YouTube blog.
To help smooth the transition, Google has created an “Upload Videos to YouTube” option on the Google Video status page. To migrate your videos you’ll need to have a YouTube account associated with your Google Video account. If you don’t head over to YouTube and set up an account using the same email address tied to your Google Video account.
There’s still one problem for some users though, the time restriction. If you’ve got longer videos on Google Video it’s unclear what happens when you try to migrate them to YouTube (which has a 15 minute limit on videos). Some users also report losing their upload time stamps in the migration.
Still, for most users this should be welcome news. Not only is there no need to panic about April 29th, moving your old Google Video movies into YouTube just became a whole lot easier.
Among the new services to secure a spot in the ever-expanding Twitterverse is Instagram, the current darling of the Twitter hipsters. The photo-sharing service has managed to build an impressive following even though it’s currently only available as an iOS app. The majority of Instagram fans use Twitter to post links to their artsy photos.
The other new services available as inline previews include videos from Blip.tv, music players from Rdio, slideshows and presentations from SlideShare and photos and videos from Dipdive.
The new inline preview feature, introduced in September’s make-over, shows a preview of an image or a video in the right-hand pane whenever somebody tweets a link to a supported video or photo site. At launch, that was Flickr, Vimeo, TwitPic and YouTube. Along with the inline previews, you also see associated conversations, recent tweets and mini bios of the people mentioned in the tweet. It’s a feature we really like — it takes Twitter beyond the 140 character limit to include photos, videos, maps and all sorts of other rich media.
While we’re happy to see Twitter integrating with more web services, the new web-based preview features highlight just how far behind the website the company’s official mobile apps have fallen. Neither the official Android client nor the iOS Twitter clients support any of the inline previews you’ll find on the web. Twitter’s mobile site doesn’t show them, either. For a richer mobile Twitter, you’ll need to turn to third-party mobile apps.
The good folks at Google have published a very cool multimedia showcase for what’s possible in HTML5. Using music by Arcade Fire (the 21st century hipster equivalent of ELO), filmmaker Chris Milk has made an interactive video of sorts that spans multiple browser windows.
Eliot Van Buskirk has a full write-up, including an interview with Milk, over on Wired’s Epicenter blog.
“The Wilderness Downtown,” features HTML5 native video and audio, canvas-animated birds that fly away from your mouse clicks, interactive SVG fonts, and photo panoramas from Google Maps Street View. You enter in the address of where you grew up and it pulls the images for that neighborhood. The neighborhood of my childhood home wasn’t available, so I opted for the section of Burlington, Vermont I lived in throughout college. It was creepy to see my old house in an Arcade Fire video.
Being Google-produced, the experiment works best in Google Chrome, of course. It had problems playing back properly in Firefox 4 beta.
If you have Chrome and can watch it, it really strikes a chord. It goes beyond all the HTML5 vs Flash dogma and presents what’s possible with these new technologies in a way which resonates on a level that’s more emotional and immediate than nerdy and intellectual.
So who do I talk to at Google about getting them to do one of these things for my band?
This post was updated at 2:45 PDT. The original incorrectly said it was a YouTube experiment. The site was created by the Google Chrome team, not YouTube.
The mobile version of Google’s video-sharing website received an upgrade Thursday. The new m.youtube.com has a bunch of new features, including high-quality video playback in the browser using HTML5.
Surf to YouTube’s mobile site with any modern mobile with a browser that supports HTML5′s <video> tag (works great on iPhones, iPads and Android phones) and you’ll notice that when you click on a video thumbnail, the video loads inside a new browser-based player.
The old site on an iPhone used to launch the YouTube native app, taking you out of the browser. In fact, the first time you visit the site on an iPhone, you’ll be prompted to “install” a bookmark on your home screen. This is likely a step to move people away from the YouTube iPhone app and toward the web-based app.
The switch to an HTML5-based mobile experience comes only a week after YouTube published a public memo stating several places where HTML5 falls short when compared to Flash for delivering video. But Flash currently isn’t an option on mobiles. So, while HTML5-based video playback may not be YouTube’s first choice on the desktop (even though the company has been experimenting with it), it makes perfect sense on mobiles.
The whole mobile YouTube site has been optimized for the small screen, and the experience on the phone is now much tighter. For one, the video quality is markedly better, and the web-app’s interface has been updated to look like a native app, with big, touchscreen-friendly button icons.
There are also new features that aren’t in the YouTube iPhone app. The library is easier to navigate, the search box suggests results as you type, videos can be bookmarked like web pages, and favorites and the new “like”-style ratings have been added.