Recently YouTube's really been ramping up its efforts to bring viewers a more cinematic online-video-viewing experience, a trend that continues as they bring home all the sophistication of foreign cinema with a new auto-translate features for subtitles. Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. After all, machine translation being what it is, it's not particularly likely that you'll get more then a bare-bones understanding of what's going on, but at least that's better than nothing.
Of course, the functionality will only be available for videos which have had subtitles or captions uploaded with YouTube's recently-added caption feature, which is currently only a tiny percent of the videos online.The YouTube blog explains how to use the feature: "To get a translation for your preferred language, move the mouse over the bottom-right arrow, and then over the small triangle next to the CC (or subtitle) icon, to see the captions menu. Click on the "Translate..." button and then you will be given a choice of many different languages."
What do you think of the feature? Is it just another gimmick, or is it going to open YouTube up to greater cross-cultural participation? Let us know after the jump.
We all have that friend or colleague who simply can't resist passing along a link to yet another "hilarious" YouTube video (and if not, well, you might be that friend or colleague). That's okay when it's a quick 30-second videoclip, but does Dan from accounting really expect us to sit through a 12-minute low quality video that doesn't even begin to get good until the 8-minute and 32-second mark?
No longer do we have to, and Dan can link us to a specific spot in any YouTube clip now that the video sharing site has quietly implemented deep linking functionality. To do so, senders need only add a short tag to the end of any YouTube link in the form of #t=_m_s, but instead of underscores, specify the exact minute and seconds (as designated by the 'm' and 's'). So to skip to the 8-minute and 32-second mark, it would read #t=8m32s.
When it comes to search engine popularity, Yahoo must have gotten used to playing second fiddle to Google. However, things just got a little worse for the big Y, as YouTube received more search traffic in August than Yahoo, clinching the #1 and #2 spots for Google.
YouTube received 2.6 billion search queries on August, barely slipping past Yahoo’s 2.4 billion. Of course, both numbers pale in comparison to Google’s 7.6 billion searches. For the first time, if both of Google’s holdings’ searches are combined, it puts Google at more than 10 billion searches in a single month.
Yahoo’s perpetual suitor Microsoft, meanwhile, served up a combined 1.0 billion searches across all its sites.
Of course, the Yahoo and YouTube’s respective search engines perform largely different functions, making a direct comparison of the two a little futile, but the statistic does nicely illustrate the dominant position Google is establishing for itself in all different sectors of the Web.
Long the king of entertainment for the attention-deficit, YouTube is finally hosting full-length episodes of TV shows. Taking a cue from Hulu, Google will be offering the videos with the new theater view mode, “dimming the lights” on the rest of the page and adding a superfluous red curtain on either side of the video playback.
Also like Hulu, the full-length episodes will include ads before, after, and during the episodes. On their blog, YouTube explains: “As we test this new format, we also want to ensure that our partners have more options when it comes to advertising on their full-length TV shows. You may see in-stream video ads (including pre-, mid- and post-rolls) embedded in some of these episodes; this advertising format will only appear on premium content where you are most comfortable seeing such ads.”
So far, the site is offering a handful of episodes of Star Trek, MacGyver, Beverly Hills 90210 and The Young and the Restless, with the promise of more to come.
What do you think? Is YouTube going to be successful in the video on-demand market? Is it going to take more than low-res MacGyver to get you to tune in? Let us know after the break.
Google has made a subtle addition to Youtube. Now users have the option of hearing an audio preview of their comment before posting it. The audio preview feature, apparently, has nary a practical purpose to serve, but the possibility of some people puffing up with vanity after hearing their insightful comments can not be ruled out. The origins of the useless feature can be traced back to a XKCD cartoon by Randall Munroe. Hopefully the audio preview feature will stir the conscience of spammers and make them reach for the backspace key.
It’s no secret that YouTube has yet to turn a profit. Despite steadily growing advertising revenue, the massive bandwidth costs required to stream a bazillion videos a day has kept the video giant out of the black. However, the company has announced an ambitious plan to monetize all those page-views by embedding their watch pages with “click-to-buy” links to retailers offering products related to the video.
YouTube is starting small, with iTunes and Amazon links on videos posted by certain record labels and trailers from Electronic Arts, but it plans to “slowly but surely expand the program to additional content and product partners.” They also plan to allow their advertising partners the opportunity to attach retail links to copyright-infringing videos posted by users, as long as they allow the video to remain on the site.
The program will initially only effect viewers in the United States, but if you live elsewhere and feel like you’re not seeing enough advertising in your daily life, don’t worry; YouTube plans to expand to other markets soon.
Yesterday Google unveiled YouTube’s brand new theater view and dimming function, both dead ringers for the prospect of HD video. With the new theater view, users will be able to watch videos in a widened, dimmed format that will make whatever video they’re watching the main focus of the screen, much like Hulu’s “lower lights” feature.
Theater view provides a nice break from YouTube’s plethora of ads and “what you should watch” next suggestion boxes, all without making the video fit the screen and turn what was a watchable video into a pixilated mass.
The theater view provided by YouTube currently fills the extra space on the sides of the video with red curtains. Given the HD prospect of the theater view, there’s a good chance that this will be used to make room for 16:9 videos. And if that’s not enough for you, last week YouTube’s upload limit was changed to 1GB, convinced?
Now, we just need Tay Zonday to make a HD version of Chocolate Rain, and this will really catch on.
NBC has lost many battles over the past few years, but it looks as though it might actually win the war over its copy protected media. Executives from the company claim to have found a “template” for protecting their videos from piracy, and it appears as though it’s actually working. You may have noticed lately that copy protected content from NBC and others have been slowly drying up from video swapping sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Veoh and even Soapbox. And as a result, NBC has been very vocal about the fact that it is generally satisfied with the new systems these services have put in place. As proof NBC cites its recent successes in controlling content from the both the Olympic Games and select Saturday Night Live clips. Clearly NBC views YouTube and other similar services as the primary battleground in protecting their content and attributes a large percentage of online video piracy to being committed out of convenience. According to Rick Cotton NBC’s general council; "What has happened up to now is the ability to access and download infringing content has been trivially simple, and the lesson it teaches people is that if it's that easy it can't be wrong,". NBC however seems to recognize that it needs to find alternatives to these services or risk pushing users to harder forms of piracy such as Bit Torrent. Arguably its full length episodes at both nbc.com and hulu.com do just that. Only time will tell if NBC’s main beef was truly over controlling its content, or simply locking it down to traditional distribution models.
Does the end of copy protected media on sites like YouTube put the death nail in user submitted video? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
It looks like Hulu’s reign as the undisputed king of high quality online video is about to come to an end, as Universal Music Group is planning to launch a “Hulu-like” video portal. UMG’s project would offer professionally produced music videos from artists such as The Killers, Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Amy Winehouse as well as original programming.
Doug Morris, chairman and CEO of Universal is leading the charge for this new service, which has the potential to generate more revenue from music videos and offer artists a new and polished platform to show off their talents. Right now, YouTube is the leading site to view music videos online, since all four of the major labels (Warner Music Group, EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group) have licensed content to the site.
The issues that still remain with YouTube are that they only see ad revenue from 3 percent of their videos, whereas Hulu is able to get ad revenue from 100 percent of their videos. This is because advertisers are more likely to put their advertising dollars into a brand that is well established, instead of user-generated content.
It should be mentioned that UMG will soon be talking with YouTube about renewing its licenses to display their content, since their current deal is up at the end of the year. However, we don't anticipate UMG pulling out of Youtube since they are reportedly happy with the promotional benefits provided to them by YouTube.
So who knows? Perhaps all of this is idle talk, or it is a legitimate venture in the works. Chances are good that we’ll find out more about this once the renewal talks have taken place.
Various streaming video services, and not just Youtube, have found favor among internet users in Britain and that has driven people away from P2P. Furthermore, according to PlusNet’s Dave Tomlinson, people are turning to streaming videos as they want to access content instantly.
All ISPs unequivocally despise P2P traffic and some have even devised clandestine methods to suppress it. There machinations against P2P are always wrapped in the puritanical garb of fighting piracy. Although streaming services are also used for propagating copyrighted content, the percentage of such unauthorized content is nothing compared to P2P. So ISPs might not have a moral pretext to combat streaming video, if it becomes as popular as P2P.