Users Can Now Buy Music on Youtube via Flipkart, iTunes

YouTube India viewers can now purchase and download legal digital music content as the video streaming giant has integrated Flipkart along with Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 store with the site. Viewers can simply click on the link provided in order to buy the music.

YouTube was selling content owned by EMI and Universal through digital stores like Amazon and iTunes prior to this. The iTunes integration has been there for some time, however, it’s only active with the EMI catalogue.

YouTube Integrates Flipkart

Free pirated music downloads are ever increasing in India and worldwide. Selling digital content in India is not just a difficult task, but a tricky one too. In the recent years, online music streaming services have seen rise in users in India. Sites like Gaana, Saavn, and Dhingana are some of the popular sites that provide free online music streaming. However, none of these offer a download/buy feature.

According to a survey by Google, almost one-third of the YouTube viewers in India access videos on their mobiles and spend over 48 hours a month on the website. Integration of Filipkart’s Flyte with YouTube is yet another route to gain traction for Flipkart.

Interestingly the download links are not just restricted to the official music channel. The links are available on music videos uploaded by any user. For instance, this song from the album The Great Ghazals – Pankaj Udhas by Pankaj Udhas was posted by a random user and is outside the official YouTube channel of Universal.

The story was first reported by Medianama earlier today.

Center Align the New Youtube Interface

Google rolled out an updated YouTube layout a couple of days back. The new design makes YouTube more consistent with other Google properties. While the reaction to the new design has been mixed, one aspect of the new YouTube has drawn almost universal ire. YouTube is now left-aligned, much like Google Plus. On high-resolution displays this results in loads of white space on the right of the screen, and makes the YouTube surfing experience extremely jarring.

Fortunately, it’s rather simple to fix this design issue. All you need to do is install the “Youtube Center Aligned” user script. The script works on Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. You can get the installation instructions for Firefox and Opera at UserScripts.com. To install in Chrome, simply download the userscript, open the extensions manager (Tools –> Extensions), and drag-and-drop the downloaded script onto Chrome. Alternatively you can install the Tampermonkey extension for Chrome, and then install the userscript.

YouTube-Center-Aligned

Even with this script, there is a lot of wastage of screen real-estate. My favorite YouTube userscript is Unique Youtube Skin, which automatically resizes the video to make full use of your screen.

Youtube-Full-Screen

[ Hat-tip: Atul Varaskar ]

YouTube Redesigned; Get New YouTube Design Now

Google is now testing out a new design for YouTube, which seems to be inspired from its social networking site Google+. The company has always been experimenting with new designs and features on YouTube, however, it looks like it isn’t done yet.

According to a post shared by Chand Hamal Thakuri over on Google+, which was first reported by OMG! Chrome!, explained the new design with a screen shot of it. The new YouTube UI is user-friendly, elegantly neat with an improved navigation and tight integration with Google Plus.

The homepage (when not logged in) showcases the top most played videos. The dark menu on the left is replaced with a simple menu bar, with two options provided on the top – Now Playing and Recommended. Below that is the “Best of YouTube” in which the categories Music, Sports, and Gaming are displayed. At the bottom of the menu, there is an option to ‘Browse channels’ along with a tip that reads, “Sign in to add channels to your guide and for great recommendations!”

Once you login, it’s a different set of menu options that you get – Watch Later, Watch History, Now Playing, Recommended, and so on. On the right hand side, you will be shown a list of Recommended Channels based on your interests.

Here are some of the screen shots we managed to get:

Get New YouTube Design

New YouTube Design

New YouTube Design

How to Get New YouTube Design Now?

There’s a simple working trick that enables the new YouTube design right away. Although it’s a bit technical, it’s easy to implement the steps. To enable it, follow the steps below:

Step #1: Open YouTube on Chrome
Step #2: Press Ctrl + Shift + J. This will open up the Javascript Console
Step #3: Copy-paste the following line: (document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=jZNC3DCddAk;”)
Step #4: Reload the page, and you should have the new YouTube design.

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.

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.

YouTube and New York Times Launch September 11 Channel

On September 11th 2001, al-Qaeda  terrorist attacks in the United States rocked the entire  world leaving them distressed and terrified. The devastating terrorist attack took away more than 3,000 lives, and the day still remains engraved in the minds of not only the Americans, but also the entire world.

YouTube in collaboration with The New York Times is marking the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attack by launching a dedicated YouTube Channel  called “Reflections on 9/11“, featuring special videos and content from the New York Times, archived news broadcasts from September 2001, and personal stories of those people whose lives were deeply affected by the attacks.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics Manager, wrote in a blog post stating, Through telling and sharing stories, we can all hope to make sense of an event that, for many of us, was one of the defining moments of our lives. Thank you for sharing yours.

YouTube is seeking its subscribers to create videos by sharing their stories, and uploading them on the site. It is working to  collaborate  with Storyful, which will pick some of the best videos, and feature them on The New York Times websites and also on the YouTube home page on September 11 this year.

Users need to create a video based on the following questions –

  • Your strongest memory of that day or that time period
  • How 9/11 changed you, and how you believe it changed America
  • What you lost – or gained — because of 9/11

The videos must be submitted to –  http://www.youtube.com/September11

Currently the channel hosts a story told by 9/11 widow Alissa Torres, who was seven months pregnant at the time of the attack. Torres went on to write the comic book, “American Widow.”

YouTube Shows Off Their New “Cosmic Panda” Design

With the launch of Google+, it seems that Google is looking to make their products prettier. The launch of the new Google search layout, the Gmail update, and the black navigation bar for Plus have all happened in the past week.We previously reported on a small change to YouTube’s video playback, but it looks like we can add all of YouTube to the list.

A post on the official YouTube blog announced that there is a new interface design in the works for YouTube. The update, which YouTube is calling “Cosmic Panda”, brings a complete redesign to the video site. It is officially part of the TestTube feature set, meaning that it isn’t going official quite yet.

What’s Different in Cosmic Panda?

Cosmic Panda brings a new look to every part of YouTube. The general idea appears to be the clean up the user interface. They have cleaned up the white space on the pages, changed the look a video page, and even altered the channel pages. Rather than trying to fully explain all of the changes, I will just give a few screenshots with captions.

Here you see the changed YouTube homepage. The biggest changes I see are the new search bar at the top, the cleaner labeling, and the Feedback tab. If you click that Feedback tab, you get the same feedback system that is available in Google+. I am happy to see that on other Google service, and hope it will penetrate into more services soon.

This is a video being played through YouTube’s new design. As you can see, the video is now more prominently featured on the page. You also get multiple sizes which can be sleeted on the right hand side. Comments are pushed further down the page. I also like the darker background around the video.

This last screenshot is of a YouTube channel. As you can see, these have changed a lot as well. You can still include a background on your channel, but it won’t be as distracting as it was previously. I really like the prominent statistics displayed on the page, including views and the last time the channel operator signed in.

Cosmic Panda: A Better Experience

As far as I am concerned, I think that YouTube has got something special with Cosmic Panda. I really like the changes they have made. I hope that this gets rolled out as an official change soon. However, I know that not everyone will like it. You can decide for yourself by hitting up the Cosmic Panda site and clicking “Try It Out!”

If you decide you hate the new look, you can go back the Cosmic Panda site and revert the changes. If you do, be sure to send them a feedback message telling them why. Let’s help make YouTube better.

 

 

YouTube Begins Rolling Out Sleek New Video Player

In the past few years, YouTube has come of age. It went mainstream, paired up with the entertainment industry, and even found ways to generate revenue. Since acquiring YouTube, Google has packed it to the brim with handy features like interactive transcripts and leanback mode. However, one area where it hasn’t made much progress is visual appearance. Google has tweaked the video player a number of times in the past, with the most recent update adding HD image previews and providing a logoless embed option. In spite of that, YouTube’s player is still probably amongst the ugliest.

The good news is that Google has finally decided to go for a complete redesign, and is rolling out a new video player to select users. The new video player ditches white completely in favor of a sleek black skin. The roll out began a short while back, and doesn’t seem to be restricted to any specific region.

YouTube-Skin

Have you received the new video player? What is your take on the new YouTube player skin? Don’t forget to share your opinion with us.