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.
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.