Saturday, 21 February 2009

Introducing Collaborative Annotations

When we launched annotations last June, we had a hunch you'd find creative ways to use them and, sure enough, you put them vigorously to work, pushing the limits of information sharing, interactive games and storytelling.

Today, we are excited to bring a new twist to annotations: the ability to collaborate on them with other YouTube users. Now you can invite anyone you like to create speech bubbles, notes and spotlights on your videos.

Enabling Collaborative Annotations is easy. First, go to your annotations editor (which you can find in My Videos or by going directly to your video's watch page) and retrieve the special annotations link. Then send it out to your friends. Once they click on the link, they will be allowed to add annotations to your video. If you don't like what they write you can always delete their annotations, and you can also disable access to the annotations URL so that no more can be added. Naturally, you can edit or delete anything you write on someone else's video.

So please give it a whirl -- you can start by participating in the first collaborative sitcom, "Kevin N' George Must Die," created by students of the Nissan acting studio -- and let us know what you think. We can't wait to see how you take online collaboration to a whole new level.


Ryan Junee

Product Manager

The YouTube Team

P.S. Even though we think annotations are really cool and give you yet another reason to start interacting even more deeply with videos on the site, we realize some of you are "old school" and prefer to see just the video and nothing more. For this reason we've added a setting that lets you permanently disable annotations. Check out this Help Centre article for more information.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Three Australian Finalists in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra: Get Voting!

Congratulations to zebralthing, gargoylejenkins, and laurenbrigden for being one of 200 finalists in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the world's first collaborative online orchestra and summit.

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra received over 3,000 audition videos from more than 70 countries and territories spanning six continents. Submissions from Vietnam to Venezuela included audition videos on the contrabassoon, Chinese sheng and marimba. Here's a playlist of the more unique auditions.

Anyone can now vote for the finalists until February 22 and the final decision to create a cohesive symphony orchestra will be announced on YouTube on March 2, 2009. The winning musicians will be flown to New York City on April 15 for a three-day classical music performance and summit with leading musicians from all over the world and a mash-up video premiered on Voting ends at 9pm PST on Sunday so get cracking -- and get out your castanets and vote!


Lucinda Barlow

YouTube Communications, Asia Pacific

Friday, 13 February 2009

HD/HQ and Widescreen Options on Embedded Videos

You now have the option to watch embedded videos in high quality or HD (when those formats are available). The widescreen option is also available when you embed a video. You can use our handy how-to guide on optimising your uploads to look their absolute best on YouTube.

As always, let us know how you find using this new feature. We'll use your feedback to make improvements as we roll out new features for embeds.


Nikhil Chandhok

Product Manager

The YouTube Team

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Australia Wild Fires: Searing Images, Messages of Support

Residents of southern Australia are reeling from the massive bushfires that have ravaged the Victoria area for the last several days. With the death toll nearing 200, and over 900 families displaced from their homes, it is proving to be one of the most devastating disasters in Australia's history.

Powerful images of the fires and their aftermath have been captured by news organizations and uploaded to YouTube, like this one from nocommentv. The images speak for themselves:

Meanwhile, average citizens from around the world are also using YouTube to respond to the crisis. From offering their well-wishes, to organizing rallies and encouraging donations, these citizens aren't just sitting back idly, but are using YouTube to help the residents of southern Australia during this difficult and tragic time:

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Safer Internet Day

Today is Safer Internet Day, an international initiative that aims to give children, parents and teachers sound advice on how best to manage online risks, so that their online experiences are safe and positive. Google Australia-New Yealand and YouTube Australia-New Yealand are partners for Internet Safety Day, which is supported by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

To mark the day, YouTube is launching a new Australian Safety Centre on YouTube, containing straightforward online safety tips and resources from experts and prominent Australian safety organisations. We have worked with Bravehearts, Reach Out, Kids Helpline, and Cybersmart Kids Online to launch the YouTube Safety Centre and have included information on how to report concerns to the Australian Federal Police.

The YouTube Safety Centre makes it easier for users to access YouTube's Help and Safety Tool, which gives users granular control over their channel (like blocking comments from specific users) and the ability to quickly report concerns. The Safety Centre includes information about YouTube Community Guidelines Violations, Cyber Citizenship, Privacy, Teen Safety, Hateful Content, Sexual Abuse of Minors, Harassment and Cyberbullying, Suicide, Impersonation, Spam and Phishing, as well as Harmful and Dangerous Conduct.

Australians all have roles to play in keeping safe and secure online, so we have developed resources dedicated to providing the tools and knowledge needed to enjoy YouTube with peace of mind.

When it comes to online safety, our approach is to:

--Empower parents with tools to help them choose what content their children see online;

--Educate children and parents on how to stay safe online;

--Protect children by working with law enforcement and industry.

After you've had a look at the YouTube Safety Centre, check out Google's Privacy Channel on YouTube. You'll find videos that help keep you informed about how your privacy is protected when you use Google.

Carolyn Dalton

Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Australia and New Zealand

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Underwater Geo Tag for Your Videos

*** UPDATED with video tutorial.*** Now you can place your videos underwater!

Today, Google Earth 5.0 launched, and one of the most exciting features is Ocean, which you can read all about here. Partners like BBC Worldwide, National Geographic
, Cousteau, Tagging of Pacific Predators, Ocean Conservancy, and Kip Evans Photography have already taken advantage of the new subsurface Ocean in Google Earth to place their YouTube videos below sea level -- and now you can too. Simply go to the altitude field in the "Date and Map" section on your video's information page and select a negative altitude to indicate that your video was shot in an ocean, lake, river, crater, etc. or drag the pointer over a body of water and hit "Set."

We can't wait to see what you've captured beneath the surface (aside from lots of fish!).


Umang Sharan