Young Brian Maupin of Kansas City made a hilarious video on YouTube that over a million people viewed (check out the vid here). The only problem is that Brian also works at Best Buy, and Best Buy has no sense of humor. The videos in question poke a little fun at Apple and the iPhone. Best Buy feels the video disparages a product that it sells, as well as the electronics retailer itself. Heaven forbid your employees have opinions about gadgets that they express in their spare time. Brian is now suspended indefinitely and is probably on the way to unemployment.
The most popular video has a customer at "Phone Mart" insisting that the only phone he (or she, the cartoon is indistinct) wants is the iPhone. Even after being told the Evo 4G could print money and grant wishes, the customer still wanted the iPhone because it has "the Wi-Fis". The weird thing here is that the videos say nothing about Best Buy, and Brian does not announce himself as a Best Buy employee. Indeed, the only connection Best Buy has to these videos is the one it has created for itself by perusing this. Maupin is taking the whole thing in stride saying, " I see it all as a blessing in disguise. I’ve wanted to start my career in graphic design/animation for so long, I see this as my kick in the pants to go get it."
Brian suspects Best Buy figured out who he was by digging through his other videos, which he removed at Best Buy's request. He refused to remove the Evo vs iPhone video as it had nothing to do with Best Buy. We wish him the best in his future video endeavors, and shake our collective fist at Best Buy.
“It's important to understand what a site like YouTube needs from the browser in order to provide a good experience for viewers as well as content creators. We need to do more than just point the browser at a video file like the image tag does - there’s a lot more to it than just retrieving and displaying a video,” YouTube programmer John Harding wrote on the YouTube API blog.
Harding cited a number of reason for YouTube's current lack of confidence in HTML5 as far as online video distribution is concerned. He stressed the need for a standard video format, which is obviously not the case right now as the propriety H.264 codec and the open WebM format are locked in a battle to determine the most popular HTML5 video format – the HTML5 spec does not require support for a standard format.
“The <video> tag certainly addresses the basic requirements and is making good progress on meeting others, but the <video> tag does not currently meet all the needs of a site like YouTube:”
Some new numbers for analytics firm comScore have more or less revealed what you have been doing when you're supposed to be working. According to the new stats, YouTube had a record 14.6 billion video views in the month of May. Overall, 183 million US internet users watched at least one online video during that same period. How do you people get anything done?
What's really intriguing here is that the total number of online video views comScore is reporting is just short of 34 billion. Therefore, YouTube had 43% of all online video views last month. The next service in the ranking was Hulu with a measly 1.2 billion videos. Both sites are up a bit from April.
Google specifically sees users watching an average of 101.2 videos per month. The nearest competitor is Yahoo's sites with only 7.3 videos per user each month. Clearly YouTube is a juggernaut in this space. Is there a video streaming site you prefer to use instead of YouTube?
We almost don't know how to say this; the Viacom/YouTube copyright case has finally come to a conclusion. Both companies announced today that U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton granted summary judgment in favor of Google. The suit, and the eventual decision are products of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Viacom filed the $1 billion lawsuit in 2007 alleging that Google's YouTube video streaming service had been built on the strength of Viacom's illegally hosted content. Google has since implemented a filtering system, but the site used to illegally host a plethora of TV shows and films. Viacom, the parent company of entities like Comedy Central and MTV, claimed Google was in violation of the DMCA. Google however claimed they were protected by the safe harbor clause in the DMCA.
Safe harbor in this context means that a service cannot be held liable for content posted by its users. In the end, the judge bought Google's argument and not Viacom's. Google praised the decision saying it strengthened the idea that "online services like YouTube are protected when they work cooperatively with copyright holders to help them manage their rights online." Viacom made noises about appealing the decision, so we may be in for some fun yet. Do you think this decision ought to stand?
Google has just unveiled a new feature of their popular video sharing site, YouTube. The YouTube Editor will allow users to perform some rudimentary video editing entirely online. It's not going to challenge desktop software in the feature department, but it will serve the needs of many people.
Users will be able to trim any video in their collection, as well as combine multiple clips into a longer one. The files are saved instantly, as Google already has them on their servers. You may not have access to more advanced features, but it brings some new options to a less tech-savvy crowd.
There is no way to edit other's videos for obvious copyright reasons, but wouldn't be surprised to see video sharing features added later. This feels to us like another feature destined for integration with Google's upcoming Chrome OS cloud connected platform. Have a look at the service here, and let us know what you think.
YouTube will begin working with the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism to deliver breaking news in the form of YouTube videos. The so-called CitizenTube has existed for a while now, but this new commitment means the content will be constantly updated with the help of an editorial staff. The editors will also be looking for tips and feedback via twitter.
YouTube's blog post didn't make it clear if the entire endeavor would be human driven, or there would be some automated content selection happening as well. This sort of guiding influence could help make "citizen journalism" more valuable to the general public. Presumably, the folks behind CitizenTube will vet stories before posting them. We expect this feed to be built into YouTube's mobile applications at some point. Would you check this feed during the next big news story, or will traditional media still be more practical?
A number of high profile events have been streamed live on YouTube, including Tiger Woods' “the State of Promiscuity Address.” The world's leading video streaming site is yet to open live streaming to the general public, though. Now, a screenshot discovered on a help page for Google Moderator on YouTube suggests that live streaming may just be on the site's agenda.
The screenshot, which was first sighted by Techcrunch's Erick Schonfeld, clearly depicts a “Live Stream” button on the channel settings page. According to Livestream CEO Max Haot, the screenshot seems to suggest that YouTube is close to adding some sort of live streaming functionality.
Live streaming would add a whole new dimension to the internet's leading video repository. Live video feeds have the ability to keep viewer's glued for long durations, which is something YouTube won't mind.
The tool was used to good effect to solicit video and text questions when YouTube interviewed President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier this year. An early adopter, singer-songwriter Kina Grannis is using Moderator to crowdsource the lyrics of her next song.
“You set the parameters for the dialogue, including the topic, the type of submissions, and the length of the conversation. Watch as submissions get voted up or down by your audience, and then respond to the top-voted submissions by posting a video on your channel,” YouTube wrote on its official blog.
“The platform operates in real-time, and you can remove any content that you or your audience flag as inappropriate. You can also embed the platform on your own website or blog.”
The New York Times, Stanford and Howcast are among the 12 users YouTube invited to set the ball rolling.
Facebook and YouTube are now both banned in Pakistan, and as you might have guessed, the beef stems from caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed appearing on the social sites, according to an AP report.
"We strongly condemn the publication of blasphemous caricatures of our holy Prophet on Facebook," foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters in the capital Islamabad. "They are committing these acts in the garb of freedom of press, which is not acceptable to us. Such malicious and insulting attacks hurt the feelings of Muslims around the world."
It all started when a private user on Facebook asked people to submit drawings of the Prophet Mohammed in an online competition. Islam prohibits the depiction of any prophet as blasphemous, and such things have a way of turning into riots, and sometimes worse. In 2008, a suicide attack outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad took the lives of eight victims. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility to avenge the publication of satirical cartoons of Mohammed in European newspapers in 2006.
Facebook is currently considering whether to make the offending page inaccessible in Pakistan.
In the emerging world of HTML5 video, the H.264 codec has the early lead. But as anticipated, Google threw a new competitor into the mix today at Google I/O. Google's VP8 codec is now available to anyone to use royalty-free. This was announced as part of a larger project called WebM in conjunction with Mozilla and Opera.
Many have been concerned with the patent ownership of H.264, and open source projects like Firefox have been unable to include it. VP8 could be a real alternative here. The other open alternative, Ogg Theora, is seen as having inferior quality to that of H.264 and VP8. There were rumors earlier today that Microsoft would be building support for VP8 into the upcoming Internet Explorer 9. Redmond has clarified they will support the standard, but users will need to install the codec on their systems.
In short order Chrome, Firefox, and Opera will have support for the new codec. Youtube will also be made compatible with VP8. No word on if Safari will join the VP8 club as well. Flash isn't dead yet, but there's another vulture circling it now. Would you prefer VP8 or H.264 be the next generation video standard?