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.
According to a screenshot taken by an IE6 user who was watching some videos on YouTube, it would appear that support for the browser will be phased out very soon.
The screenshot suggests that an upgrade to a “more modern” browser, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.5. And, they’re not alone – apparently Digg is looking to cut their support for IE6 as well.
There’s been no official word yet from YouTube, so this information is only as good as its sources (truthfully, folks on Twitter). But, it doesn’t seem illogical, so if it turns out to be true, there’ll be little surprise.
Youtube was probably as tailor-made for copyright woes as it was for success. Apart from a copyright infringement law suit filed by Viacom, it is also contesting the claims made by a group of copyright owners in a separate class action law suit.
Having remained in the shadows of the competing yoke of Youtube and Hulu for the entire span of its existence, and with revenues, or lack of it, rubbing salt into its yawning wounds, this fresh attempt to sneak out of those long shadows is understandable.
Its current senior VP of engineering, Matt Zelesko, will replace Mike Volpi, though Volpi will continue to be chairman. The impact of the shakeup will pervade through its ranks as it plans to prune its staff.
Starting Tuesday, the Chinese government shut down access to virtually all search engines and social networking sites, including Twitter, Flickr, Bing (Microsoft's new search engine), Live.com, Hotmail.com, Blogger, and others. All YouTube videos are also being blocked, as are BBC World News reports on the anniversary.
Are these actions unexpected? How can you bypass these types of blocks? Join us after the jump for more.