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?
In May 2005, some former Paypal employees launched the first beta version of YouTube, an online video sharing site that would become so memorable for Rickrolling, the Leave Brittany Alone video, and many other, ahem, gems. In celebration of its fifth birthday, the Google owned company has launched the YouTube Five Year channel.
"There, you’ll find the 'My YouTube Story' project which features people from all over describing how YouTube has changed or shaped their lives," YouTube wrote in a blog post.
"The channel also hosts an interactive timeline containing some of the most important moments and memes in our short history. It was tough to pick -- and just scratches the surface of all the amazing things that have happened on YouTube over the years. What else? We’ve asked a handful of luminaries like Conan O’Brien, Vint Cerf and Katie Couric to curate playlists showcasing their favorite videos on the subjects they know best. You can also check out our Infographic here; it contains lots of neat facts and figures."
Users are invited to add their own story the mix, which can be uploaded here and possibly selected to appear on the channel's video wall or map.
It appears YouTube's little experiment with video rentals may not be long for this world, not at the current pace anyway. Google's online video service continues to put the pieces in place to attract customers, including beefing up its catalog with critically acclaimed hits (3:10 to Yuma, for example) and adding titles from Lionsgate, but none of it seems to be working so far.
YouTube has stopped displaying the play count of rentals on its site, and with good reason. NewTeeVee.com claims they were able to obtain numbers for many of YouTube's rental titles, such as the above mentioned 3:10 to Yuma, which was only streamed a miserable 53 times in the course of a week.
Unfortunately for YouTube, 3:10 to Yuma's performance wasn't an aberration, but par for course. Saw, for example, only saw 40 rentals in the same time span, while Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs was only viewed 101 times even though it's being streamed for $1.99 versus the regular price of $3.99. The most popular title in YouTube's rental store -- Precious -- was only streamed 1,421 times, while the tenth most popular title -- Air Guitar Nation -- was viewed 235 times.
"It's going really well so far," said Anna Richardson, YouTube's Communications Manager
Richardson points out that this is still just an early beta of YouTube's rental program there hasn't been much effort to advertise the service, so these numbers aren't necessarily disappointing. Time will tell if she's right or not.
It's no secret that Google is a fan of open standards, and in particular, open video. The HTML5 beta currently in full swing on YouTube is evidence enough of this trend, but at least up until now, all the video being delivered has been in patent encumbered H.264. Given the commitment made to the standard it seemed pretty clear cut that they would be the codec winners in the Google camp, but in a rather interesting turn of events, the search giant has decided to dump a ton of cash into TheorARM, a competitor to H.264 aimed at mobile platforms.
Just in case we lost you, HTML5 delivers on its promise to offer up open standards for Web video, but browser vendors have so far been unable to reach a consensus on what underlying codec should be used. Ogg Theora is a royalty free option favored by most, but when it comes to sheer compression power, H.264 has it beat hands down. Compression is likely the reason for H.264's popularity given the massive bandwidth bills for streaming internet video, but clearly Google doesn't want to be seen as picking sides.
By supporting TheorARM Google is making a significant contribution to open video, and might eventually make it possible for Theora to gain broader support on the mobile web. According to Google's Robin Watts, "We need a baseline to work from-one standard format that (if all else fails) everything can fall back to". This hardly sounds like a ringing endorsement of the technology, but I'm sure the Theora won't turn down the support or big bag of cash.
In an email to a partner today, YouTube confirmed that the new look for the video page they have been testing recently is about to go live. Not long after that, the changes did indeed go live. In case you haven’t seen the new page, it makes the video more of the focus and ditches the clutter.
Right up at the top is the uploader’s information. In addition to the subscribe button, you can see a drop down with the uploader’s other videos. There’s a new player button that puts the video into widescreen mode. This moves the other page elements down. The five star rating system is now gone, replaced instead by a simple thumbs up or down system. Rating a video lets you see how others have rated it. The video description has moved to a drop down right below the video. The recommended video pane now also has an autoplay button so you can avoid all that pesky clicking.
Overall, we feel like it’s a pretty good redesign. It looks much cleaner than the old version, and the video seems like a more prominent part of the page. How do you feel about it?