YouTube Now Lets You Blur Faces in Your Videos

Sometimes, you may not want to reveal your identity in a video and intended to blur your face in it. There are a number of free and premium video editing software programs that easily help you achieve that task. However, what if you’re running out of time and want to immediately upload a video with the blur affect added? Well, if YouTube is the place where you’ll be uploading the video, then there’s a solution to that.

Today, Google has announced this nifty little feature for YouTube, which will enable users to blur faces within videos itself. This tool maybe highly useful to those who upload newsworthy content on YouTube involving specific people who want to remain anonymous, which might eventually get picked by TV media.

“Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube.”

Blur Faces in Your YouTube Videos

The new face blur feature on YouTube is of great advantage, and you can start using it right away. Once you have selected the video that you want to upload, follow the step-by-step instruction below to blur faces in your video:

Step #1: Upload the video to your YouTube account, or select the video that you want to edit.

Step #2: Navigate to the “Video Manager” by clicking on your username on the top-right corner.

Step #3: Click the “Edit” button. You’ll be taken to the edit info page for the video.

Step #4: Now, click on “Enhancements.” At the bottom, select “Additional Features,” and it will reveal the face blurring tool. Click on the “Apply” button to Blur All Faces.

Step 5: If you’re satisfied with the blurring as you see it in the preview, click “Save As.” Additionally, you can check the “Delete the original Video” option, which will permanently delete the original copy of the video from your YouTube account.

Users can use this feature to check the video frame-by-frame in order to see if the face blurring effect was effective or not. However, in the blog post, YouTube has stressed that the technology is “emerging” (read as beta phase) and might not be 100 percent accurate: “This is emerging technology, which means it sometimes has difficulty detecting faces depending on the angle, lighting, obstructions and video quality. It’s possible that certain faces or frames will not be blurred.”

This is a very interesting move from Google. YouTube has gone out to be one of the best platforms for storytelling and to share videos on the Internet. It has been playing a vital role as one of the main news sources around the globe. With the new Face Blurring feature, it definitely helps in preserving the anonymity of a user, or participants in a protest.

Google currently uses a similar blurring technology to obscure faces and license plate numbers on its Street View mapping service.

Google Maps, YouTube And WhatsApp For Android Updated

Few hours after the Day 1 keynote at I/O 2012 event in San Francisco, Google has rolled out a couple of updates for its popular Google Maps and YouTube apps on Android. On the other hand, our favorite messaging service, WhatsApp for Android has received a major update. Earlier today, Google has moved the Chrome browser out of the beta status. Chrome For Android is currently the standard browser on the recently announced Nexus 7 tablet. To learn more about the new Chrome for Android, head over to this post.

Google Maps for Android:

Earlier this month, Google has showed off the offline maps support for the Google Maps on Android. This feature was already available in “Labs”, but it allowed us to download the maps for a 10-mile radius. The latest offline maps support allows us to download the maps for a larger area. This feature is useful while you are travelling in a new city and does not have access to data or Wi-Fi connection.

YouTube for Android:

Google has rolled out a new version of its popular YouTube for Android app. The latest update comes with a loads of new features. However, this update is available only for devices running on Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS. This updates bring a brand new UI along with a guide on the left side of the screen, which offers instant access to your subscribed channels.

It also allows you to preload your “Subscriptions” and “Watch Later” queue while you are on Wi-Fi and charging for smooth playback on the go. Other features include HD video playback for select devices running on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS. Check out the complete changelog below.

Changelog:
Android 3.2+ devices: v.4.0:

  • New UI: Guide on the left side of the screen with instant access to channels
  • Preload videos while on WiFi and charging for smooth playback on the go
  • Turn your phone into a remote, to play YouTube videos on other devices
  • Access your watch History across devices

Earlier Android devices: v.2.4:

  • Sign-in with Google account
  • HD playback (on capable phones)
  • Multiple bug fixes

WhatsApp for Android:

One of my favorite messaging app, WhatsApp for Android has also received a major update. The latest version is numbered 2.7.9736 and it brings large font size and long vibrate setting to help with accessibility, search within conversation feature, bug fixes and much more. It also allows you to add a background in a conversation from the given set of images or from the images saved on your smartphone. The complete changelog is posted after the break.


Changelog:

  • Added search within conversation feature
  • Increased the “large” font size to help with accessibility
  • Add a czech translation (Thanks Rene!)
  • Add a default wallpaper
  • Add a “long” vibrate setting to help with accessibility
  • Settings screen overhaul and improvement
  • Add a “recent” tab to the share contact picker
  • Lots of bug fixes and user interface improvements

[ Download Google Maps For Android ]

[ Download YouTube for Android ]

[ Download WhatsApp for Android ]

Fix Green Screen in YouTube Videos

I use a lot and it is my go-to website to listen to music and watch interesting videos. However, recently all the YouTube videos I watched just showed me a green screen while the videos were playing. This happened in all the browser including , , and Internet Explorer 9.

YouTube Green Screen in Videos

Due to the Green screen (pictured above) I was unable to watch any videos. However, I was still able to listen to the audio. It turns out that the above problem was with a recent update to Adobe Flash player. If you are seeing a similar problem, here are the steps to fix it.

YouTube Flash Player Settings Flash Player Display Options

Step 1: Right click on the video player and select Settings from the menu options. Once the options page opens, click on the "Display icon".

Disable Hardware Acceleration Flash

Step 2: Uncheck the box next to "Enable hardware acceleration" to disable hardware acceleration for Flash. Once you have done that close the options box and refresh YouTube.

This should help to resolve your issue with the green screen on YouTube. Alternatively, you can also opt-in to YouTube HTML5 player by visiting http://www.youtube.com/html5. However, not all YouTube videos are so you might still have to follow the steps listed above to get rid of the Green screen in videos on YouTube.

Clear Viewing History and Search History in YouTube

is one of my favorite video players and I usually prefer to listen to my music there. However, like with other Google products, YouTube maintains a history of all the videos you have watched or videos you have searched for to make it easier for you to find and watch those videos again.

Clearing Viewing History in YouTube

Although all of Google’s other products have had an opt-in clause for tracking, YouTube never did or had these options hidden. Although, YouTube is now providing users with an easy option to clear their viewing history as well as their search History along with the ability to pause YouTube from tracking it in their new interface.

Clear Search History YouTube

According to Ghacks, YouTube now has a settings page where you will be able to clear your viewing history and search history along with the ability to pause them from tracking it as well. Users can clear or pause their viewing history by visiting this page and their search history by visiting this page.

Please note that YouTube only tracks history for users if they are logged in with a Google account, so you will have to login to YouTube before you can manage or pause your search or viewing history.

Google TV’s YouTube App Updated; Faster and Tons Of New Features Added

It looks like Google just does not want to give up on Google TV. GTV has had a disastrous start, and is the sole reason for Logitech’s huge losses last year, but the big-G is in no mood to leave the product alone.

Today, Google announced on the official Google TV blog that the company would start rolling out a new YouTube app for all GTV devices. The new app is way faster and smoother than the current version, and is also much easier to navigate around. The new version of the app also has many new features including, Discover, which as its name suggests allows for easier discovery of new content on YouTube.

The app now also allows users access to playlists and videos via the new channel pages of their favorite channels, see related videos from the same user by pressing the up/down button on their remote, and the ability to thumbs up a video or add it to any of your playlists, all while watching the video itself.

Owners of various Google TV devices can update the in-built YouTube app using the Android Market.

 

Google’s “Funny” Algorithm Can Measure Laughter. Well, Sort Of.

YouTube has an interesting comedy slam page where users can compare two videos and vote the one which appeals to them. YouTube slam, which is categorized into music, comedy, bizarre and cute, is sort of a never ending addictive game where you watch bizarre videos and vote the ones you find interesting, funny or humorous. You get nothing out of this, except a mention as a top voter on the slam leaderboards.

But have you ever wondered how Google measures which video is funnier, which one is bizarre and which one is cute? What are the signals Google counts when ranking videos in the YouTube slam page?

youtube-comedy-slam

Unlike textual content, Google and other search engines can’t “read” the content of a video or see through it. The only way a bot can have some clue about a video is its associated metadata, the title tags, description, anchor text, links from other domains, user comments and so forth. This mechanism is often, not so accurate and can be quirked for selfish reasons.

Coming to how YouTube ranks videos in slam pages, a Google researcher admitted that there is an algorithm which tries to measure the degree of laughter associated with a video. The algorithm is not entirely driven by view counts or mere votes because of the fact that human feelings are subjective in nature. What appears humorous to one age group might be a complete turn off for another.

youtube-commentsThe funny thing is that the algorithm tries to extract “textual laughter” from the comments section of a YouTube video. Words such as “hahaha”, “hehehe”, “jajaja”, “kekeke” in user comments counts as a strong signal towards the humorous nature of a video. This algorithm also considers web acronyms such as LOL, ROFL or LMAO and emoticons e.g :D, ;-) xP.

Google trains classifiers to identify funny videos and finds the reason why this video is funny and to what category or genre this video may belong to. The ranking algorithm is strongly driven by human reaction and their emphasis on emotions e.g a looooooool  is considered a stronger signal than a lol because of the elongation which reflects the viewer’s emphasis. Here is what Google says:

We noticed that viewers emphasize their reaction to funny videos in several ways: e.g. capitalization (LOL), elongation (loooooool), repetition (lolololol), exclamation (lolllll!!!!!), and combinations thereof. If a user uses an “loooooool” vs an “loool”, does it mean they were more amused? We designed features to quantify the degree of emphasis on words associated with amusement in viewer comments. We then trained a passive-aggressive ranking algorithm using human-annotated pairwise ground truth and a combination of text and audiovisual features. Similar to Music Slam, we used this ranker to populate candidates for human voting for our Comedy Slam.

Now they are judging candidates for YouTube slam by how many “lols” are written underneath a video? Like this video which got more than 3000 comments and 1,566,000 views but it’s not funny!

New YouTube Design Spotted in the Wild

Google is well known for testing the hell out of even the smallest of changes. When it couldn’t decide between two shades of blue, it tested 41 different shades of blue on users to statistically determine which one yields best results. In fact, most of the new features that were revealed in the recent YouTube redesign were spotted by users months in advance. At any point of time, there are dozens (hundreds?) of different variations of Google services being tested in the wild. Earlier this week, two hawk-eyed Neowin users spotted a couple of YouTube features that we haven’t seen before.

The first screenshot, shared by FMH, shows a revamped video suggestions sidebar. The new sidebar looks a lot more attractive, thanks to the increased prominence of images. Compared to the current sidebar, it’s also a lot more compact, but it loses several pieces of metadata about the video, including duration, uploader, and view count.

YouTube-Sidebar

The second variant, which was spotted by bogas04, features an improved seek bar. When hovering over the video timeline, a thumbnail preview of the frame you are about to seek to pops up. Unlike the first change, which I have mixed opinions about, this seems to be a nice usability improvement that should make rewinding and jumping ahead to a particular moment more convenient.

YouTube-Seek-Bar-Thumbnail

Rebecca Black’s Friday is YouTube’s Most Viewed Video of 2011

After Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Opera, YouTube is the latest bigwig to publish its own annual top 10 list. If 2009 was the year of Miley Cyrus and 2010 was the year of Justin Bieber, 2011 will go down as the year of Rebecca Black. Rebecca Black’s Friday, which often appears to have more haters than admirers, collected more than 180 million views. Other entries in the list include viral sensations like talking dog, talking twin babies and Nyan cat.

YouTube received more than 1 trillion playbacks in 2011, which amounts to about 140 views for every person on Earth! The most viewed channels were Machinama, IGN, and RayWilliamJohnson. Among videos from major music labels, Jennifer Lopez’s On The Floor and LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem proved to be the biggest hits.

You can head over to YouTube.com/Rewind to browse through some of the biggest sensations of the year. YouTube has put together top 10s for a wide range of categories including fashion, beauty, sports, gaming, travel, fitness, food, science, tech reviews, family, pets, and wedding proposals.

Most viewed YouTube videos globally (excluding videos from major music labels)

Rebecca Black – Friday (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
Ultimate Dog Tease
Jack Sparrow (feat. Michael Bolton)
Talking Twin Babies – PART 2 – OFFICIAL VIDEO
Nyan Cat [original]
Look At Me Now – Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes (Cover by @KarminMusic)
The Creep (feat. Nicki Minaj & John Waters)
Maria Aragon – Born This Way (Cover) by Lady Gaga
The Force: Volkswagen Commercial
Cat mom hugs baby kitten

Most viewed YouTube channels globally (excluding channels from major music labels)
machinima
IGNentertainment
RayWilliamJohnson
expertvillage
BlueXephos
smosh
realannoyingorange
roosterteeth
thelonelyisland
barelypolitical

Most watched videos from major music labels globally

Jennifer Lopez – On The Floor ft. Pitbull
LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock
Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song [Official Video]
Nicki Minaj – Super Bass
Pitbull – Give Me Everything ft. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer
Pitbull – Rain Over Me ft. Marc Anthony
Jessie J – Price Tag ft. B.o.B.
LMFAO – Sexy and I Know It
Katy Perry – E.T. ft. Kanye West
Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)

Some highlights from other categories:
Zach Wahls Speaks About Family was the most-watched political video
Japan Earthquake: Helicopter aerial view video of giant tsunami waves was the most-watched news video
25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes! was the most watched how-tovideo
iPhone 5 Concept Features was the most-watched science/technology video
Immortals was the most-watched movie trailer
Mountain Biker gets taken out by Buck was the most-watched sports video was the most-watched political video

YouTube Redesigns Itself Around Channels and Social

YouTube has unveiled what is possibly the biggest redesign since its launch. The new design makes a conscious effort to increase user engagement by leveraging channels and social media. The homepage makes it easier than ever before to view videos that you want to watch. A Facebook-like activity stream is at the front and center of the new design. Tabs on the left hand side allow instant switching between different streams, while the right hand side houses video and channel recommendations. Facebook and Google+ streams feature videos shared by your friends and contacts, while Trending and Popular steams house the latest viral sensations from across the web.

YouTube-Redesign

Channels themselves have been updated with new templates to make discovering videos easier. Users can check on their favorite channels without leaving the homepage or subscribe to channels while watching a video. The overall design has also been improved vastly. Google has incorporated the best aspects of Cosmic Panda to create a livelier and richer experience. “We’ve used your feedback to improve our overall design, and today, we’re presenting a cleaner and simpler YouTube, with a consistent gray background, bigger video thumbnails and a more streamlined watch page”, read the official announcement.

Head over to YouTube.com or view the video embedded above to check out the new YouTube. In the short time that I have used it, I have found the new design to be a lot more intuitive and elegant, besides being functional. There are a few oddities here and there though. Videos shared by people not in my circles show up in my Google Plus stream on occasions, and videos that you have watched aren’t automatically replaced with newer ones. However, as is typical with any redesign, there is already a minor backlash against it from avid YouTube users. Don’t forget to let us how you feel about the new YouTube.

A Simple Hack To Preview YouTube’s Upcoming Design [Video]

YouTube is probably the only Google service which hasn’t been redesigned for a while. We have recently learned that YouTube is testing another major design overhaul in the lines of Cosmic Panda, a fresh version of the 6 month old redesign experiment. No wonder the upcoming YouTube redesign is synonymous with the redesign of Gmail, Google Reader, Google Adsense and other Google services;   the sole aim being Google Plus integration.

The new homepage and design changes on YouTube haven’t been rolled out yet, but you can preview it using the following hack:

1. Open YouTube.com on Google Chrome and fire up the developers tools panel by hitting Control + Shift + J. Firefox users should use Control + Shift + K instead.

2. Click Console and enter this string as it is:

document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=ST1Ti53r4fU”;

youtube-new-design-hack

3. Hit the Return key once.

5. Refresh the page by hitting F5 on your keyboard.

Done!

The page will reload and YouTube’s hidden design will be brought into light. Have a look below:

new-youtube-design

Instead of the classic 2 column layout, YouTube plans to go three column over a subtle grey background. The subscription timeline is centered while channel recommendations and related videos lay on both sides of the timeline. Video pages will remain 2 column though.

The left column has a new member in the form of G+, clicking which shows all the YouTube videos your Google Plus friends have shared recently. You can also click trending videosand currently popularon the left column to see which videos are being watched by the entire community of YouTube users across the globe.

google-plus-videos

homepage

The new design feels good to my eyes and unlike Gmail or Google Reader, this one is a little more compact and has better calls to action. Barring colors, Google Plus video stream and minor modifications on the layout, it is still the old YouTube where I spend more than an hour daily.

If you would like to take an inside peek into YouTube’s upcoming design changes, watch the following screencast:

Thanks Jatin for the tip