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02 December, 2011

YouTube Redesigns Its Web Site to Promote Personalized Video Channels

YouTube Redesigns Its Web Site to Promote Personalized Video Channels

 | December 1, 2011, 5:22 PM

YouTube, though one of the most popular sites on the Web, has always been a bit overwhelming, with its avalanche of videos, more than 48 hours of which are uploaded each minute.
On Thursday, YouTube introduced a revamped Web site to help people wade through all of those videos and see the ones they care about most every time they visit the site. The redesign, the largest in YouTube’s history, is part of a broader effort by Google, which owns YouTube. It wants to create on the Internet an alternative to cable, with millions of channels that can be seen on screens of any size, whether phones or computers or televisions.
“Now YouTube has so much content that it’s very hard to know where to get started,” said Shishir Mehrotra, vice president of product development at YouTube. “We are trying hard to marry the best of TV with the best of online, so you get regular programming and come back often, but the new home page ensures you can take channels you care about and interact with them in ways you couldn’t do on TV.”
On the new site, YouTube hopes, people will take the time to select their favorite YouTube channels — which could be an individual video creator, a network like CBS, a performer like Coldplay or a topic like cooking. YouTube compares this to the programming of a digital video recorder. Then, every time they visit YouTube, they will see those channels and a feed of the most recent videos created by those producers.
YouTube users have long been able to subscribe to individual creators’ videos, but a subscription has meant little more than a shout-out that they like the creator’s videos. Now, a subscription will mean that a person has chosen to watch that channel regularly and will see the content often because a user’s top 10 channels always show up on the homepage.
Channels can be created by professional video creators like HBO, YouTube producers like Machinima, bloggers and amateur video creators and curators who do not upload their own videos but select their favorites from YouTube.
“It really changes the game among content creators,” said Noam Lovinsky, group product manager at YouTube. “Everyone is going to be vying for a spot on your home pages, so it focuses them on building channels you’ll return to day in and day out.”
The new home page, instead of showing thumbnail shots of a wide array of videos in broad areas like comedy, news and sports, has three columns. On the left are the channels the user has chosen, in the middle is a feed of the most recent videos from those creators and on the right are recommended videos based on the user’s preferences.
The look is different, too. The background is gray instead of white. The logo is more modern and the layout is less cluttered — all to fit in with Google’s overall efforts to make its products more aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly and similar to one another, said Margaret Stewart, director of user experience at YouTube.
It is also another step toward YouTube’s integration with Google+. Now, the same log-in works for Gmail, Google+, YouTube and other Google products. People can choose videos posted by their friends on Google+ as a channel and can share videos by giving them a +1 and start hang-outs directly from YouTube.
YouTube also said that its newest ad formats, which let people choose whether to watch ads, have been surprisingly popular with advertisers, and that skippable ads now account for more than half of the ads that show in videos on the site.
From your favorite sports highlights and dance competitions to make-up tutorialsscience experiments and great movies, there’s a ton of great stuff on YouTube — over three billion views worth per day by last count. More and more, behind every great video is a great Channel, and with our announcement last month that more of them are coming to YouTube, we want to make it easier for you to find and keep tabs of what you want to watch.

So, today we're introducing a new homepage, Channel design and a fresh coat of digital paint. Here are three ways these updates will improve your life on YouTube:

1. A new homepage
The YouTube homepage is your gateway to a vast entertainment universe. To help you get more into YouTube, we’re making it easier to find and follow great Channels when you arrive. On the left side of the homepage you can create your own, personal, customizable YouTube Channel line-up. Sign-in, or create a YouTube account. Then you can browse recommended Channels; customize your homepage’s feed; even link your YouTube account to Google+ and Facebook to see what your friends are sharing. The new homepage feed we launched earlier this year is now front and center on the homepage. You can switch between feeds by clicking on different Channels on the left. 

For step by step instructions on using the new YouTube homepage, you can go to our help center

2. Simpler, customizable Channels
Given the homepage’s new focus on helping you find and organize your favorite Channels, we would be remiss if we didn’t update the look and feel of the Channels themselves. Today we're launching an improved Channel design focused on what matters most: helping users find great videos. As different uploaders have different goals, we've created new Channel templates to meet your needs whether you produce one video a week or have thousands of videos for a fan to browse. Some partners have even uploaded videos talking about the features, or giving tips on how they’re taking advantage of the new design. To learn how to opt-in to and test this new Channel design, check out our help center

3. A new overall design
To bring the new homepage and Channels designs together we’ve also applied a fresh coat of digital paint across the whole site. In July, we unveiled an experimental design called Cosmic Panda. 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. 

Ready to get started? Your new YouTube is already shipped and waiting for you at, and like every new toy, we included an instruction manual (and video) to help.

Our recent Channels expansion, our grants and educational programs, and this new design are all focused on helping you discover a broader range of entertainment on YouTube. We’re always innovating and testing new stuff out to make the experience the best it can be for you. We rely on your feedback to figure out when we've gotten it right and when it needs further tweaks. So let us know what you think.

The YouTube team

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