It’s obligatory this time of year that others share with us a top-ten list of some kind: events, photos, movies, or some other nonsense that in some way defines the preceding 12 months. It’s as if the arbitrary markings on a calendar demarcate something truly significant about the ongoing existence of humanity. The kids at YouTube aren't going to miss this parade, and have dutifully announced their list of most watch videos.
For the category of most watched YouTube videos, global...the envelope please. And the winner is Susan Boyle-Britian’s Got Talent, with over 120 million views. Which particular version of this video is not noted--there are a couple dozen of them out there (and Google links to the one 7:07 in length). But, if we use the one 5:50 in length, that means we, collectively, have spent more than 190 person-years watching Simon Cowell’s jaw drop in reaction to Boyle’s performance. (Or, if you like, 3.8 people per second with nothing better to do.)
Rounding out the top five watched globally, and trailing well behind the number one video: David After Dentist (37+ million views), JK Wedding Entrance Dance (33+ million views), New Moon Movie Trailer (31+ million views), and Evian Roller Babies (27+ million views).
Topping the list of most watched music videos is Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me” (82 million views), followed by two from Miley Cyrus (“The Climb”, 64+ million views, “Party in the U.S.A”, 54+ million views), then The Lonely Island “I’m On a Boat” (48+ million views), and Keri Hilson “Knock You Down” (35+ million views).
As more demands are placed on your hardware infrastructure you’ve got two choices: (1) increase your hardware infrastructure; or (2) make your hardware infrastructure more efficient. Google’s been grappling with the problem of late, and has decided that option (2) the the preferable way to go.
To reduce latency on videos, Google Labs has devised Feather, now in beta, which delivers YouTube pages without a lot of extras. The Feather edition of YouTube does away with search suggestions, comment posting, viewing all comments, video rating, and customization of the embedded player. The downside: not all videos will be available under the Feather option.
Google’s exploring a possible new stream of revenue: fee-based streaming television on YouTube. Peter Kafka, of All Things Digital, reports Google is presently in preliminary discussions with networks and studios, with both sides appearing optimistic.
The deal would include YouTube making available first-run television shows commercial-free for $1.99 apiece, like Apple and Amazon. Rather than allow the shows to be downloaded they’d be streamed. Kafka sees this as a problem--users wanting something a tad more tangible than a stream for their $1.99. YouTube, on the other hand, points to studies that show the download/streaming debate to be largely perceptual: buyers only watch a show once, so having or not having shouldn’t make a difference.
Details are still speculative, and might include YouTube shying away from first-run shows, providing instead shows not readily available through other services. There is also the possibility of a monthly subscription service, which Apple and Hulu are presently exploring.
The entrance of another video provider in a rapidly saturating online media marketplace may be a tough go. Users are notorious for not wanting to pay for content. With plenty of options open to them YouTube’s success with such a venture is open to question.
You can view the video here and switch between 720p and 1080p at any time. While perhaps not dramatic or always obvious, there's a definite difference in quality noticeable in the finer details. Switch between the videos in full screen to see what we're talking about, or take a gander at these screenshot comparisons Gizmodo posted.
Have you found any other 1080p videos on YouTube worth watching? Hit the jump and drop a link!
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye: to YouTube’s API access. From now on, it’s through the front door or you’re not getting inside.
The word comes from Syabas, the maker of the Popcorn Hour set-top box. They, along with pretty much every set-top box maker, used YouTube’s API access to video’s which provides a neater integration to video than the regular Flash-based web interface. Besides better video, advertisements were also avoided. Good deal all around.
But no more. Google has changed the agreement for using API access--which it has a right to do. Google has decided to cut off access, except perhaps to a few of the powerful set-top makers, like Sony or Nintendo. Could be Google has figured out a new way to generate revenue, which certainly wasn’t coming from those who skipped the ads.
Google is striving to make YouTube friendlier for deaf and hard of hearing people. It today announced the launch of machine-generated automatic captions. But it has chosen to limit the technology to a few YouTube channels for now.
The auto-cap feature has been built on top of the YouTube caption system, and uses the same speech-to-text technology as Google Voice. Though the auto-cap feature is only meant to work with English-language speech, it is possible to automatically translate these automatically-generated captions to 51 different languages.
Another new feature has been added to YouTube in the form of "automatic caption timing." Captions are created using the transcript (text file) uploaded by the user. Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology helps ensure that each word hits precisely the right mark on the timeline, making it easier for users to manually create captions.
In recent years, 1080p camcorders have found their way into more consumers’ hands. Now YouTube will allow people to take advantage of all those pixels. Starting next week, the HD options on the popular video sharing site will include both 720p and 1080p, provided the original source allows it.
There is a test video already up here. Performance seems to be good, but it doesn’t look tremendously different from current YouTube HD offerings. If you have an HD camera, YouTube would like you upload some 1080p video. They will be highlighting some of the best footage on the front page soon. If you shoot HD video, will you take the extra time to upload your videos in 1080p?
YouTube has launched what it terms as “a small test of skippable pre-rolls.” But don’t be misled by YouTube’s humble choice of words for describing its latest experiment. After all, it is something that could shape the advertising strategy of one of the most popular sites on the internet.
YouTube wants to test the viability of optional pre-roll ads. Such ads will not only give more freedom to the viewers but also force those responsible for creating the ads to come up with more informative, entertaining and compelling ads.
“We've learned from Promoted Videos that advertisers are often willing to pay more money for an engaged opt-in view, as opposed to a forced view like an in-stream ad, so this also has the potential to increase CPMs,” the company said in a post on the YouTube Biz Blog, which it uses to make advertising and business related announcements.
YouTube first flirted with in-stream ads in 2007. But that experience proved to be far from perfect as it found the abandonment rate to be as high as 70%. It then went on to realize that in-stream ads work best with longer videos.
You got to hand it to Google, they are one for novel ideas. And, in this case, perhaps an idea that makes sense. Piracy is a tough thing to combat. A lot of effort goes into anti-piracy efforts, and little benefit seems to emerge. Rather than copyright owners fight with Google’s YouTube over the posting of their material, Google is proposing they try to make a buck from it instead.
Google’s proposition is quite simple. Making use of a ‘fingerprinting’ system Google has developed (Audio ID and Video ID), copyright owners could tag and track their content on YouTube. The content identification system, already in use on YouTube, allows to see where and how often their material is viewed. Rights holders could use the system to block their content, or they could take a small cut of YouTube’s advertising revenue, based on the how much viewing statistics.
It would seem like a win-win situation. Copyrights holders would have to take responsibility for their content on YouTube, making sure it is properly tagged for tracking, and blocking what they see fit. YouTube would be relieved of the burden of lawsuits by copyright holders, and would be better situated to generate advertising revenue that is currently shying away from the site because of its legal issues. Both sides would get to wet their beaks in a bigger pot of advertising revenue. And YouTubers will be still free to watch all their favorite, currently tainted, copyrighted material.
Freaky? Yeah, says the Times. Each social networking service develops its own culture. When culture boundaries are breeched, as when Flicker mingled its vital essence with that of Yahoo, Flicker diehards freaked-out--the reason they were at Flicker was because they didn’t want to be at Yahoo. Would the same be true for YouTube users?
Possibly, but we may never know. The Times later corrected itself. Only those YouTubers who have a Google account associated with their YouTube account will be affected. And only to the extent they’d have to use their Google password. They can still use either their YouTube or Google username. If you don’t have a Google account associated with your YouTube account, then nothing happens, so there’s no reason to freak out. Basically, only those who have already co-mingled their vital essence will be affected, and they probably don’t care.
For the record, the Times “apologizes[s] for getting the story wrong.” Some solace, I suppose, to those who had gone off the deep end after reading the initial report.