Sunday, 29 March 2009

Meet the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

In approximately two weeks, the members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra will travel from around the world to New York City, where they will meet for the first time for the summit and performance at Carnegie Hall. In anticipation of this gathering, some of the winning musicians have created video introductions that reveal a bit about who they are and where they're from (there are even a few family member cameos). This reel of hellos gives you a glimpse of the musicians behind the instruments:

For the full collection of introductory videos, from Costa Rica, Malaysia, Bermuda, Israel, South Korea and beyond, watch this playlist:

Finally, don't delay in securing your seat to the debut YouTube Symphony Orchestra performance on April 15. Tickets are on sale now at the Carnegie Hall Box Office.

See you at the Symphony,

Michele Flannery

YouTube Music

Friday, 27 March 2009

University of NSW opens to all with YouTube EDU

YouTube EDU, launched today, is a volunteer project from a group of employees who wanted to aggregate all the amazing educational content being uploaded onto YouTube by colleges and universities.

The UNSW joins over 100 higher education partners on the site including IIT/IISc, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Yale. The UNSW has a very active channel on YouTube with Senior Lecturer Richard Buckland already giving course credit for first year computer science course work available for free through YouTube.

On, the YouTube community can
find academic subjects of interest, tour campuses, get news about
research, and freely audit over 200 full university courses from some
of the world's most prestigious universities. There is a wide range of subjects - Computer Science, Physics, History, Sociology, Politics, Film, Philosophy, Law, and many more. Education partners
can join a community
of peer institutions, compare how their content is faring
relative to each other, and be encouraged to tear down the walls of the
ivory tower in the name of open education.

Democratising learning and making educational material from leading institutions available to people everywhere, is one of the unexpected and inspiring outcomes of YouTube. We
will be adding new universities and colleges over time.  If you're
interested in an official channel for your university please fill out the YouTube EDU Partner Interest form.

Obadiah Greenberg, Strategic Partnerships Team

Release Notes: 3/26/2009

Traditionally after site maintenance we've only shared information about the most significant new features. But after witnessing the discussions about what else has changed, we figured more frequent, casual "release notes" would be good to publish as well. That way you can get a broader sense of what's new on the site, from major features to cosmetic touches, as well as background on the thinking or motivation behind some of these items.

* Upload Progress Bar: A new Flash uploader is up for all supported browsers and it comes with a long-awaited (and much-requested) feature: an upload progress bar that lets you know the status of your upload. Our next step will be providing the estimated video processing time for your upload.

* Simpler HD Parameter: We want to give you more control over how your video looks, including the option of it being eye-blazingly clear (HD), so we've now added an official URL parameter (hd=1) for sharing HD links.

* Tweet Tweet: Everyone's on The Twitter these days, so we've added a "share to Twitter" button under the Share options so you can easily send a video into your Twitterstream. (Feel free to change the prefilled text, if you like.) This was a big internal request, but we know many of you asked for it, too. We don't currently shorten the Video URL automagically but hope to get to it down the road.

* Do You EDU? Educational Hub Launches: Using YouTube as a vehicle to democratise learning is one of the coolest, unintended outcomes of the site's existence. YouTube EDU is a volunteer project sparked by a group of employees who wanted to find a better way to collect and highlight all the great educational content being uploaded to YouTube by colleges and universities. We'll feature some of these videos on the home page on Friday and elaborate further in a separate post on that day.

* Mobile Improvements: We're working hard to develop apps and a mobile Web site that enables the best possible video experience on as many devices as possible -- we recognise that mobile is a key component of how people will consume video in the future. So in addition to launching a new mobile landing page, we've cleaned up the upload flow from phone-to-YouTube so this should be a lot more smooth and intuitive now. More on this in a post this weekend.

*Easier to Log In With Google Credentials: If you have your YouTube account associated with your Google account, you no longer have to go to a separate page to log in to YouTube with your Google account information. It's all in one place at sign-in.

* Neater Watch Pages: Yes, sometimes YouTube can feel a bit cluttered, so last night we took some time to "clean up" the presentation on the watch page. Generally, we've heard from you that the action area on this page has been a bit confusing and should be made simpler. So we're streamlining the space beneath the player to better use the available real estate and to present all of the actions more consistently. Some changes you'll notice: a) the action links are a bit smaller and more condensed; b) we've eliminated the tabs for Comments, Statistics & Data and instead made all of these available in expandable sections (which you can collapse/expand using the little arrow), making it easy to expose or hide information in a consistent way. As a side note, we've begun work on a broader watch page redesign to incorporate all the things we've learned since our last major change. Expect to see some ideas and concept sketches on the blog once we're further along.

* A Little Help for Your Friends: The process of connecting with your friends on YouTube will see some bigger improvements soon, but in the meantime, we've added the ability for you to send an invite and personalised note to a username or email address. There's also an instant friend link to instant message if that's your preferred mode of communication -- go to:

* New Names for Sponsored, Promoted and Featured Videos: We've done a bit of spring cleaning with regards to some of the nomenclature on the site. This post from yesterday tells the story.

As always, let us know what you think in the comments below.


The YouTube Team

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

A Few Name Changes on the Site

It's time for a spring clean at YouTube, so you might notice that today we've renamed a few modules on the home page, watch page, and on the search results page, and we wanted to explain what the changes mean and why we're making them.

Like all spring cleaning exercises, you might ask "Why bother?" Well, in part because we want to help you discover videos on YouTube in lots of different ways, so it's important that you know where they came from and why we think you'll like them. But also, we just think these names make more sense. Here's the rundown:

* Spotlight Videos: We like to highlight videos we think you'll want to watch; videos that hopefully inform, inspire, and entertain. We think "Spotlight Videos" is an appropriate title for this section, and soon we are going to take a more thematic approach to showcasing some of the best videos our community and partners produce. When you see these videos, they will have top billing on the page -- a true spotlight.

* Promoted Videos: Our search advertising programme is about helping anyone promote their videos to a larger audience on YouTube (right now this is only available in the U.S.). Whether you're a start-up band trying to break out with a new single, or an advertiser showing off how to use your cool new product, this programme is a great way for you to promote and drive traffic to your content. We think "Promoted Videos" more accurately describes this programme than "Sponsored Videos," the original name.

* Featured Videos: Featured Videos will be primarily populated with videos from YouTube's thousands of partners, but they might also include select user videos that are currently popular or that we have previously showcased in Spotlight Videos. We will automatically rotate these videos throughout the day to keep them fresh.

We'll be making a few other changes to the homepage in the weeks to come; until then, we wanted to share these developments with you.


Curtis Lee

Product Marketing Manager

The YouTube Team

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Watching Video on Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 Phones

Our goal is to provide you with a great YouTube experience wherever you want to watch videos -- whether it's on your computer, on your television, or on your mobile phone. While YouTube has been available for many mobile phones for over a year, today we're taking a big step forward with a new version of our mobile YouTube application. It's optimised for most Windows Mobile and Symbian Series 60 devices (a list of supported Nokia S60 devices is available here). In addition to providing YouTube on more phones than ever before, it's also much faster -- up to 90% faster starting up, searching, and video loading -- and gives you better video quality that's automatically optimised to your WiFi or 3G network.

To download the app, visit from your device. More cool features and app improvements are on the way, and the app will alert you as updates become available and allow you to upgrade with a single click.


David Stewart

Product Marketing

The YouTube Team

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

New YouTube Insight Feature: Do People Like Your Videos?

YouTube Insight, our video analytics tool, is full of useful information about your video views. You can find out which state or country your views come from, the websites that send you the most traffic, or the parts of your video that keep your viewers' attention. But while views are an important indicator of popularity, they are not the full picture: you know people are watching your video, but do they really like it?

Since the beginning of YouTube, many of you have been looking at the community's feedback to answer this question -- reading comments, looking at ratings, and checking favorites. Today, we hope to make it easier for you to find out who likes your videos (and who doesn't) by launching our newest YouTube Insight feature: a "Community" tab that allows you to see how YouTube users engage with your content over time and depending on their geographic location. You can see total numbers related to ratings, comments, and favorites (or all of them combined), as well as the average number of actions the community takes per view of your video. For example, if it looks like your rating is 3/5 stars, but the average Japanese viewer is giving you 2, while the French tend to give you 5, you'll now know where your real fans are located.

We think this new feature will be useful to many of you, whether you are an advertiser trying to figure out what users think of your new product (not just whether they started to watch the commercial), or a professor curious whether your Plato lecture is starting conversations among users in Greece.

We hope this feature will answer the question du jour: is he (or she) just not that into you?

Tracy Chan and Kenny Stoltz

Product Managers

The YouTube Team

Adopt a Feature: Round #1

Two weeks ago, we launched a program called Adopt a Feature, in which we asked you to give certain features some TLC by making videos explaining how they work. Just over two dozen of you took us up on it, with the majority choosing to talk about AudioSwap and Insight. We're collecting these clips on the adoptafeature channel, and as you can see they're a mixture of straightforward instruction and comedy -- there's even some bile, a fake corpse, more than a few bleeps, and a bit of innuendo... In other words, you are indeed taking these features and making them your own, which is exactly what we were hoping for. Here are some highlights so far:

* SteveDutzy lets you in on a fun (if perverse) game he plays with Insight

* BelgianDann employs annotations (and the undead!) to promote AudioSwap

* Petercoffin broadcasts from space to explain how Insight can contribute to inspiration, monetization and, um, you'll see

* Thecomputernerd01 stops talking about batteries, GameBoy, his mum's shades, his new knit hat, and an ace of hearts card long enough to explain how the country/language pulldown menus work

* The dapper Bobby SoFamous shows how AudioSwap can mask a foul mouth (and, of course, make you a better YouTube participant)

* BeanerLaRue's mother, Lola, makes her third cameo to impress the kids with her knowledge of AudioSwap

While these videos continue to percolate, and as new ones are added, we'll continue to watch how usage of these features evolves with your adoptafeature uploads and we'll report back on any significant shifts. So take a look at what's been created so far and consider this an open call to produce something even better, particularly for some of the features that didn't get as much love this round: Country and Language Options, Playlists, QuickCapture, and Subscriptions. (If you feel compelled to make a video about a feature not on the list, go for it -- just include "adoptafeature" in the tags. We might use it in a future installment.)

Anyway, get those cameras rolling. We want to have a lot more to talk about in two weeks time, on March 31, the next adoptafeature update.


Hunter Walk

Director, Product Management

The YouTube Team

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Won't You Adopt a Feature?

Raise your hand if you've watched a YouTube video. Cool, the "play" button definitely works but that's just the start of where the YouTube experience can begin. Every week we release new tools, or enhancements to current ones, to help you make better videos, connect with one another, and understand your audience. We tell you about them in this blog, but now we want to take it up a notch and ask you to (puppy-dog eyes) adopt a feature.

It's not to say that the features on the list below are unloved or unlovable; it's just that we believe that many of you could help spread the word more broadly about their usefulness -- and, more important, in a way that's fun to watch.

So here's how it would work:

1. Select one or more features from the list below.

2. Make a video about that feature (of course, it must adhere to our Terms of Service) and be sure to use the precise tags we've indicated for each feature.

3. We'll start tracking how your videos are impacting that feature's performance and offer a play-by-play in this blog, notating which users are making the greatest impact with their videos. Our first update will be on March 17, so get cracking!

4. The most successful video(s) will be featured on our home page and live for all eternity in our Help Center, and you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped the feature live a long and productive life.

And with that, here are some features that could use your loving touch:

* AudioSwap (use tags: audioswap, adoptafeature)

* Country and Language Options (use tags: countrypulldown, adoptafeature)

* Insight (use tags: insight, adoptafeature)

* Playlists (use tags: playlists, adoptafeature)

* Quick Capture (use tags: quickcapture, adoptafeature)

* Subscriptions (use tags: subscriptions, adoptafeature)

If you're looking for inspiration, watch this video that LisaNova created about subscriptions and why she can't live without them:

Think you can do better? Let's see! And if you have a favorite YouTube feature that we haven't included on this list, let us know in the comments.


Hunter Walk

Director, Product Management

The YouTube Team

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Australian winners in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Thank you for all your votes and congratulations to Australians Lauren Brigden and Lin Jiang and Italian Armin Terzer, currently studying in Queensland, for being selected in the final YouTube Symphony Orchestra. Lauren, Lin and Armin will be flown to New York with over 90 winning musicians from around the world, to take part in a musical summit and perform Tan Dun's Internet Symphony No. 1 Eroica, at Carnegie Hall on April 15, under the direction of the San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas.

See an interactive display of the winning orchestra line up here:

From over 3000 audition videos, 200 finalists ranging in age from 15 to 55 were chosen by musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic among others. The YouTube community and Michael Tilson Thomas
then selected more than ninety musicians playing 26 different instruments to make the winning orchestra.

Lauren Bridgen, on the viola, "I
can't wait be part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and meet the other
talented musicians who won positions. Playing
with Michael Tilson Thomas will be a real privilege.  YouTube has found
an exciting way to take classical music out of its traditional setting
and introduce it to a new audience and I'm thrilled to be part of the


Lin Jiang, on the French horn, "I
have been playing the French horn for 13 years, in a variety of
orchestras, but this is the first time I've taken part in a virtual
ensemble. The YouTube Symphony Orchestra marks the
beginning of a new era of music making, which I am very proud to be
part of.

Stay tuned for more symphony news and a mashup video of all the auditions!


Lucinda Barlow

YouTube, Asia Pacific