Ah, Youtube. Thanks to you, we can't imagine an Internet without Old Greg, "All Your Base are Belong to Us" or Leeroy Jenkins. Youtube celebrated its sixth birthday today, and while the event was low key compared to the site's five-year anniversary mega-blowout-fiesta-extravaganza, the company tossed up a blog post with some numbers that show just how big our baby has grown. Unfortunately, the post doesn't list how many otherwise productive work hours have been lost to Rickrolls, but we estimate the number to be in the millions.
You don't come to Maximum PC for political debates so we're not going to go off on a tangent about what this country does and doesn't need. At the same time, if you live and breathe politics, or simply want to see where members of Congress stand, Google has made it easy with its new Town Hall channel on YouTube. Go there, select an issue, and watch a couple of short videos of politicians doing what they do best: talking.
Instead of stepping outside for a coffee break when there's a lull at work, YouTube wants you to grab a bag of popcorn and plop yourself in front of your PC. The Google-owned video sharing site today rolled the dice with online rentals and added thousands of of full length feature films from major Hollywood studios to its catalog, provided you reside the U.S. And it's not just old movies that you've seen a hundred times already on VHS.
Google is ready to take the next step with YouTube and will launch an on-demand video rental service in which viewers will be able to stream Hollywood flicks, according to reports. The service could launch as early as next week, providing instant competition to Netflix and Apple's iTunes, and give Hollywood studios yet another revenue stream.
Google last week sent out an email letting users know they had until April 29, 2011 to download any videos they had uploaded to Google Video, after which time they'd lose access to them forever. That must have not sat well with some armchair Steven Spielberg types, because over the weekend we received a second email from Google, this one telling us that it's taken user feedback to heart and removed the deadline, and is offering to help users shuttle their videos to YouTube.
Feeling snubbed by the royal family in Britain because you didn't receive an invitation to the wedding of Prince William to university sweetheart Kate Middleton? Dry your teary eyes, because even though you can't be there in person to see the royal couple exchange their vows, you and perhaps billions of others can tune in to YouTube to watch the event unfold in real time.
Google sent us an email over the weekend letting us know that video content hosted on Google Video will no longer be available for playback later this month. For most users, this won't be an issue, but if you happen to have videos uploaded only to Google Video, your window of opportunity to both view them and download them is rapidly closing. Assuming you don't procrastinate, Google has made it easy to grab your videos.
YouTube has a message for video uploaders who run afoul of copyright law: You better check yourself before you wreck yourself. To help offending users check themselves, anyone who receives a copyright notification for one of their videos will be required to attend "YouTube Copyright School." This entails watching a copyright tutorial video and taking a quiz afterwards to make sure you didn't simply hit 'play' while you head out to go smokin' in the boys room.
Some analysts believe Google paid too much for YouTube when the search giant acquired the video sharing portal in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Whether or not Google overvalued the site ultimately remains to be seen, but in the meantime, the sultan of search is dipping into its treasure chest and will pour another $100 million into YouTube to fund low-cost original content designed exclusively for the Web.
While several sites and companies try to outright prank visitors with fake news stories and bogus announcements, YouTube's taking a bit of a different approach. In a bit of a roleplay scenario, YouTube is pretending to celebrate 100 years on the Web with a look back at what the video sharing site would have been like in 1911. Say what?