For some unknown reason YouTube has decided to make possible real-time searches of comments. Seriously? Comments are the thing you avoid on YouTube, expressing either gross immaturity or venting some real, and ofttimes inappropriately placed, anger. If there is a good thing about YouTube comments is we’re subjected only to a few of them--and they are easily ignored.
After reading some of searched comments I’m not so sure companies would want to know what people are saying. Not the people posting on YouTube anyway. Give it a try. Type in any innocuous term. Count down how many entries until you read something obscene or vulgar (or worse). In my few searches I didn’t get past the top five.
Western Digital has announced the second iteration of its TV connected media player. The new WD TV Live HD takes all that was awesome about the old, and adds some new tricks. The box still has wide codec support for playing files from USB drives, but it now also streams content from Youtube, Pandora, and Flickr. Users can also connect network drives to the new version to view files.
The WD TV Live HD, as the name would suggest, outputs 1080P HD video via a HDMI 1.3 port. Composite and component are also available. If you need to get video off that USB drive and on to your TV, the WD TVs provide an attractive alternative to media center PCs. The new WD TV device has an MSRP of $149.99.
One billion views a day? That’s a whole lot of the Evolution of Dance, Susan Boyle, and Tron Guy. But it all depends on who’s doing the counting. Officially, according to comScore, YouTube in August had surpassed 10 billion views which, no matter how you slice it, is a whole lot of views. Miguel Helft, of The New York Times Bits blog, notes that this total is only for the United States. If foreign views are tallied it is estimated that the 10 billion number would double. While that leaves YouTube a bit short of the 30 billion that 1 billion a day would produce, it still beats the pants off of second place Microsoft, which played a mere 547 million videos during the same period.
Where does the 1 billion views a day number come from? YouTube itself. In a YouTube blog titled “Y,000,000,000uTube”, Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube, claims YouTube is now the “burger kings of media,” serving up well over a billion views a day. Hurley also notes that the nature of YouTube is changing: “As bandwidth has increased, so has our video quality. As we've started to see demand for longer, full-length content, we've brought more shows and movies to the site.”
For a bit of perspective on all this 1 billion views a day equates to 11,574 YouTube videos started up each second of the day. That’s a whole lot of bandwidth!
It appears that Google/YouTube’s Sgt. Shultz defense in it’s $1 billion copyright infringement case with Viacom might not fly. Apparently YouTube did know something as newly disclosed YouTube e-mails indicate that YouTube’s own managers knew and discussed the existence of unauthorized content on the site, and further did some of the uploading themselves. Oops!
Google’s key point of protection against Viacom’s action is the requirement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) that it was unaware of the uploading or existence of copyrighted material on its site, and when notified of such expeditiously act to remove it. Viacom and others have long been suspicious of Google’s “I know nothing” defense, and with the disclosure of these emails appear vindicated.
The revelation hasn’t left YouTube completely defenseless. It appears that Viacom’s employees were partly responsible for uploading Viacom’s copyrighted content onto YouTube. YouTube argues that if Viacom is doing the uploading how is it possible for YouTube to distinguish which material is kosher, and which isn’t. Viacom counters with The Wizard of Oz defense: “never mind that man behind the curtain,” maintaining that doesn’t really matter. It’s appears only a matter of time before the Chewbacca defense is trotted out.
The future of YouTube could be left in your hands, as well as anyone else who participates in the video sharing site's user research surveys.
The latest user experience study asked YouTube users to depict their ideal YouTube layout using printed-out features glued to magnets. Most of the participants said they "just want to watch" and that an ideal layout would consist of little more than a player and a title. But a smaller group -- mostly consisting of those who upload videos -- craved a far busier design brimming with social features, comments, descriptions, and more.
This is where you come in.
"Sometimes having users come into labs is not enough, though; we want to understand how users use YouTube in their context, in their living room, with their laptop on their lap, sprawled out on the couch," YouTube wrote in its blog. "In this case we might have field studies where we interview users in their homes."
You can take a short user survey here, and if you're interested in participating in any upcoming research, YouTube has a form you can fill out here
The headline “Hulu is going subscription” has been making headlines around the net recently, but as usual, some of these claims are somewhat exaggerated. New Corps. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker indicated that Hulu may indeed one day have a subscription based service, but “no decisions have been made yet”. Inside sources have indicated that Hulu is already beta testing subscription based video services internally, but that this is merely an attempt to hammer out the technical details.
The challenge for Hulu at this point is to successfully find a strategy for transitioning to a paid business model, especially when its popularity was largely fueled by the simple fact that it was the best legal way to get free access to TV shows. Experimenting with new business models isn’t surprising, it’s even healthy, but where it leads is anyone guess. Hulu is also in a great position to watch and learn as Google attempts to implement its paid content. Adding paid offerings to a free online video service may or may not take off, but at least they appear to be letting someone else take the lead.
Either way it doesn’t sound like Hulu will be going subscription anytime soon, but at least it shows they are still dedicated to the future of the service.
Studios said to be discussing licensing agreements with YouTube include Sony, Lions Gate Entertainment, and Warner Brothers. But at least one studio exec who claims to be familiar with the talks said no deals are imminent and that having these discussions isn't out of the ordinary.
"Why wouldn't the studios talk to YouTube," the exec said.
Why wouldn't they, indeed. With over 100 million viewers, streaming rentals has the potential to be a win-win proposition for both the Google-owned site and the movie studios. It would also be cause for concern for other streaming services, like Hulu.com and Crackle.com.
According to a recent presentation by Harvard’s Jonathan Zittrain, the Internet’s delicate and vulnerable nature is held together by random acts of kindness.
As a key example, he cited when Pakistan’s government took YouTube offline in 2008. It wasn’t long before it was back, thanks to a largely unknown, unpaid and unauthorized team of volunteers. “It's like when the Bat signal goes up and Batman answers the call,” said Professor Zittrain.
The same social structure of those helping without any intention of compensation is clear on Wikipedia. “It's like dark matter in the universe. There's a lot of it, you don't see it but it has a huge impact on the physics of the place.”
Over this past weekend it would appear that the folks at YouTube have begun the initial stages of testing for their 20% Project, which aims to bring 3D to YouTube videos.
According to a Google employee posting on the YouTube forums who has only been identified as “YouTube Pete,” “I'm the developer working on the stereoscopic player as a 20% project. It's currently very early, hence the silly bugs like swapping the eyes for the anaglyph modes. A fix for this is in the works.” He also revealed some code, which would allow you to change the aspect of the video, among other things. You can see it all here.
It has been made clear though, that this is a side project for Google. With that in mind, there’s no official word as to when this mighty finally get official.
YouTube doesn't boast a cast consisting of Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Tory Belleci, Grand Imahara, and Kari Byron, but that didn't stop the streaming video service from doing a MythBusters piece of its own, but in blog form. The blog post, which was posted this week, addresses several issues about YouTube products that the company says are all bunk.
The number one myth in YouTube's list is that the video service is limited to short-form user-generated content. YouTube responds by pointing out it has thousands of premium content partners, from Sony to Disney to Universal Music, and hundreds of full-length feature films and thousands of full-length TV episodes.
Other concerns YouTube addresses include the popular perception that YouTube videos are grainy and poor quality, traffic and growth are bad for the service's bottom line, advertiser's won't touch YouTube, and that the Google-owned video service is only monetizing 3 to 5 percent of the site. There are all false, or 'busted,' the site says, and you can read the reasoning here.