Technologizer posts about YouTube

Like 70 percent of YouTube users, I don’t skip past the pre-roll ads on videos. That’s because until I read this article, I didn’t realize you could skip past the ads.

Posted by Harry at 10:04 am

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Is YouTube about to make a major push into streaming Hollywood movies? I dunno, but it seems inevitable that Google will do so–sooner or later, one way or another.

Posted by Harry at 10:28 am

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Google Takes Issue With Roku’s YouTube Channel

By  |  Posted at 8:59 am on Friday, April 22, 2011

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While Roku doesn’t offer an officially sanctioned YouTube channel, many of us have been enjoying that content through a “private” offering created by The Nowhereman. In fact, he’s such an exceptional developer, Roku brought him on as an employee (where he’s known as Chris). Yet that puts them in an even more awkward position now that Google has taken issue with the unlicensed YouTube channel.

blog comment tipped me off to the situation, that I confirmed on the forum… The YouTube channel remains functional for the folks who’ve previously activated it, yet no new subscribers are permitted. I reached out to Roku who also corroborated the situation, saying “we received a takedown notice from YouTube’s legal team and are in the midst of negotiations with them.” They’re hopeful of having more information to share with the community next week.

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YouTube to Expand Live Programming–Gradually

By  |  Posted at 2:51 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011

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Looks like YouTube is set to take on services like UStream, Justin.TV, and the like — it announced its roll out streaming capabilities to its platform on Friday in a blog post. Simply called YouTube Live, it marks the first time that its technology would be used for live streaming outside of one-off events.

Now don’t dump UStream just yet: “certain YouTube partners” are the first to gain access. YouTube says that the service will gradually be opened up to more and more partners, although it did not specifically say whether or not consumers would be able to use the live streaming. I’d venture to guess this is in the works, but obviously YouTube will need to make sure their servers would be able to handle the obvious extra load above their traditional video business.

Al Jazeera English has already been using this technology for at least two months now, helping that channel further reach US audiences that so far are still shut out by cable companies from being able to watch it on their televisions.

If you’re interested in checking out some live video on the site, head over to this page on the company’s website. Nothing too interesting so far– let’s hope that the company attracts some more high-profile content providers.

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YouTube May Imitate TV, Channels and All

By  |  Posted at 12:57 pm on Thursday, April 7, 2011

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After failing to become a hub for Hollywood content, Google’s YouTube may be spending millions of dollars on its own professional videos, without help from networks.

The Wall Street Journal’s unnamed sources say YouTube is planning a major redesign focused on “channels.” To that end, the company will reportedly spend up to $100 million to commission low-budget, professional content. Roughly 20 of the channels will host several hours of original programming per week, the Journal reports.

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Take A Self-Portrait Every Day. Every Day. Every Day

By  |  Posted at 9:31 pm on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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Remember this guy?

If you’ve spent any time at all on the internet in the last few years, you’re probably responsible for one of the 18 million (now approaching 19 million) views of his video, mashing together years’ worth of self-portraits into a few minutes of thrashing hair and regular shaving.

His name is Noah Kalina, he’s a New York-based photographer, and he has teamed up with some other people to create Everyday an iPhone app that makes it super-easy to create your own version of this video.

The app thinks about everything, so you don’t have to. It helps you line your face up in roughly the same position every time you take a shot. It reminds you to take your photos on a regular basis. It saves them all for you, and when you’ve taken enough, it automatically turns them into a timelapse video, ready for posting online.

Note the word “enough” there. This app is best suited to people who aren’t in a hurry. Even after a month of daily photos, you’re not going to have much to show. This app is making a big splash at launch – and deservedly so, because it’s beautifully made – but we’re going to have to wait about a year to start seeing good videos.

I’ll make a note in my calendar for March 22nd next year, and we’ll see.

(This post republished from Techland.)

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Copyright Hits New Low as WMG Silences “Forget You” Sign Language Video [Update: It's Back]

By  |  Posted at 8:26 am on Tuesday, March 1, 2011


[Update: The audio is back, and WMG's copyright notice is gone. Original post below.]

Iunderstand that record labels need to protect their copyrights, but sometimes, they ought to make exceptions, as with this sign language adaptation of Cee-Lo’s “Forget You” (as the PG-13 version is known).

The YouTube video, put together by a college student named Anna, has been viewed over 1.3 million times since she uploaded it in December. As the audio track plays in the background, Anna delivers the lyrics with emphatic sign language.

Only now, the audio part is gone, thanks to Warner Music Group. In its place is a notice: “This video contains an audio track that has not been authorized by WMG. The audio has been disabled.”

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YouTube for Game Consoles? Sounds Good

By  |  Posted at 10:21 am on Friday, February 18, 2011


As Sony and Microsoft beef up the streaming video selections on their respective video game consoles, Google’s YouTube has been conspicuously absent.

But now, a Google job posting, spotted by Gamasutra, seeks an engineer to “build the next generation game-console-based TV experience with You Tube video content” and “integrate and optimize with distribution channels and devices including all major game platforms.”

In other words, we might someday see a native YouTube app for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and maybe even Nintendo’s Wii.

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Roku, YouTube Give Al-Jazeera English New Paths to Your TV

By  |  Posted at 1:20 pm on Tuesday, February 1, 2011

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Like my colleague Ed Oswald, I’ve been marveling at Al-Jazeera English’s coverage of the protests in Egypt. Particularly, I appreciate how the channel is treating its journalism like a public service, with a free live stream on the Web and a Creative Commons license for other networks to use its footage.

But unlike Ed, I’m not lamenting cable companies’ stonewalling of the channel because, well, I don’t subscribe to cable. Still, I get the desire to watch Al Jazeera English’s coverage on a television, so I’m glad Roku has stepped in with a solution for its set-top boxes. Roku owners can now tap into Al-Jazeera English’s live feed through the Newscaster app in the Roku Channel Store.

That’s a pretty nice development for web video in general. One of the common complaints with cord-cutting is that you lose access to 24-hour news networks such as CNN or Fox News, who only make their feeds available to pay TV subscribers. Al-Jazeera English provides a good workaround, albeit one that won’t give you national news coverage if you’re in the United States.

In addition to Roku, YouTube is now running a live feed of Al-Jazeera English, potentially allowing the Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and other connected TVs and set-top boxes to access the channel. I’ll be able to test that out on the two consoles’ web browsers in an hour or so, and will update with the results. (Update: No luck with the YouTube feed on Playstation 3 or Wii, but I did get the feed from Al-Jazeera’s own website running in the PS3′s web browser.)

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Hate Flash? Try DivX HiQ

By  |  Posted at 12:36 pm on Wednesday, November 24, 2010


A recently released version of the DivX player comes with DivX HIQ, a plug-in that works with any browser. It’s a replacement for the Flash player that’s used to play videos on YouTube and at other sites–and boy, does it boost performance.

You’ll see the DivX HIQ option right below YouTube’s Start and pause button.

Among other things, DivX HIQ:

• Reduces dropouts indicated by that rotating circle you often see when Flash is downloading the streaming video. The stream is definitely smoother.

• Reduces CPU use, making it ideal for notebook and netbook users, because you’ll save battery life.

• Has a better looking maximized viewing window, plus a nifty, smaller pop-out window you can move to anywhere on your screen.

• Optionally saves YouTube videos automatically to your hard drive.

One thing not to try is DivX’s offer to permanently substitute itself for YouTube’s default player — at least until DivX HiQ is out of beta. For now, I’ve noticed that YouTube’s player sometimes starts first and runs for a few seconds before DivX HiQ kicks in.


Click on DivX HIQ for a smoother ride.


Watch the DivX HiQ product manager take you through an introduction and demo some features. [Thanks, Roger.]

[This post is excerpted from Steve's TechBite newsletter. If you liked it, head here to sign up--it's delivered on Wednesdays to your inbox, and it's free.]

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YouTube Gets an Android Remote With One Neat Feature

By  |  Posted at 9:08 am on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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Google’s YouTube Remote app for Android might ease the pain of changing the channel on web video, so to speak.

The free app controls YouTube Leanback on the desktop or on Google TV. Once synced by user account on both devices, the app can play, pause, rewind, fast forward and adjust volume on YouTube clips. But the killer feature, I think, is the ability to find new videos or add them to a queue.

Back when I subscribed to cable, changing channels was the most inelegant part of the experience. You press the “guide” button, and your picture becomes a thumbnail, surrounded by a wall of programming information. Because this is so distracting, you’re under pressure — from your family or whoever else is watching — to find a new channel as quickly as possible so you can get back to the big screen.

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SpeakerText: Search and Share Your Favorite Video Snippets

By  |  Posted at 12:48 pm on Sunday, October 3, 2010

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David Spark is a veteran tech journalist who’s been covering the TechCrunch Disrupt conference for Yammer. Check out more of Spark’s coverage on Yammer’s blog.

I’ve always felt that the failure of video online has been its lack of visibility. Over the past few years there have been a variety of techniques deployed to search and discover video. But generally, all the content that’s available to search is the title, tags, and description of the video. Some sites have tried to crowdsource the problem with visitors tagging videos. And others have tried to solve this problem through transcription of videos, such as It’s a good solution for spoken word videos, but it fell short because the solution is isolated to one specific site and service. Everyzing (now Ramp) did an excellent job of transcribing audio and video content but it didn’t make it easy to share.

At TechCrunch Disrupt I saw SpeakerText, a far more useful “anybody can use” tool for video transcription and search that’s well integrated with social media. SpeakerText is a paid plugin that will currently transcribe your YouTube,, WordPress, Ooyala, and Brightcove videos and sync them with the content in the video, making it searchable via the text. Again, it’s only really good for spoken-word videos, but what I found most valuable is the ability to highlight a piece of text and share it via Twitter. When you do, it creates a shortened URL that goes directly to that portion in the video where the highlighted text is spoken. Watch the demo with SpeakerText’s founder, Matt Mireles.

Shameless plug: Enter Yammer’s “Workplace Communications Horror Story!” Sweepstakes for a chance to win a free iPad. Deadline is October 15th, 2010.

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If Google Instant is a hit, Google–and its competitors–will presumably try to build similar interfaces for other services. In the meantime, there’s an unofficial site called YouTube Instant.

Posted by Harry at 9:47 am

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YouTube’s On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With Premium

By  |  Posted at 9:38 am on Monday, August 30, 2010

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Let’s play a game. Go to YouTube’s home page and try to find the premium content — the movies and television shows from big studios — without resorting to search. Come back here once you’ve given up.

A year ago, getting to that content was a lot easier. YouTube’s home page had a “Shows” tab that took you directly to a page filled with professionally-produced episodes and clips. The top of the page, as captured in July 2009 by the Wayback Machine, promoted clips from Jimmy Kimmel Live, manga from Funimation and full episodes of the Larry Sanders Show. Down below were clips from ABC’s World News With Charlie Gibson, and cooking tutorials from the New York Times.

YouTube’s “Shows” page still exists, but the emphasis on big stars and major media companies is gone. More importantly, you can’t get to this page directly from YouTube’s homepage. The latest redesign, launched at the end of March, removed a lot of clutter, but also returned prominence to the user-generated content for which the site is best-known.

With all that in mind, I wonder what YouTube will look like if it begins selling pay-per-view movies from major Hollywood studios. Financial Times says Google negotiating with studios to stream feature films at the same time as their release on DVD (same as iTunes and Amazon), and hopes to have deals in place by the end of the year.

It’s easy to see why Google would want YouTube to stream major motion pictures. A cut of each sale would provide revenue, and the timing would fit nicely with the launch of Google TV. But the shifting on YouTube’s home page between user-generated and premium content only points out how difficult it is to juggle both in one place. I just can’t imagine a big block of feature films being hawked alongside make-up tutorials and “Drive-By Pooping.”

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YouTube Upload Limit Bumped to 15 Minutes

By  |  Posted at 4:09 pm on Thursday, July 29, 2010


User-made YouTube videos have been limited to 10 minutes almost since the beginning, but now YouTube is ready to give people 15 minutes per video instead.

YouTube says its Content ID system makes the extra five minutes possible. With all major movie studios and music labels using Content ID to sniff out copyrighted material, and the technology improved enough, YouTube can afford to relax the upload limit, which was introduced to keep pirated television shows and movies off the site. Content partners, such as CBS, have always been able to upload longer videos, including full-length television shows and feature films.

The contrarian in me wants to lament the boosted upload limit. There’s something to be said for concision, and users might lose some editorial discipline with an extra five minutes to spare. But overall I’m happy to see YouTube raise the limit to 15 minutes. The number of videos that will benefit from the extra time — video game walkthroughs, homespun sitcoms, how-to videos and otherwise fascinating raw footage — probably outweigh the ones that would wear our their welcome.

Now, I’m just wondering two things: When will the upload limit increase again, and why not extend it to 20 minutes right now? Product Manager Joshua Siegel didn’t give the most satisfying answer on YouTube’s blog, saying only that the site will do everything it can to release incremental improvements in the future. Maybe the content partners aren’t totally comfortable with user-made videos that match the length of a commercial-free television show, or perhaps YouTube fears the bandwidth demands a 20-minute limit may bring.

Whatever the case, it’s a good sign that YouTube’s moving beyond the upload limit it put in place four years ago. Any bets on when YouTube will allow two-hour feature films from its users?


Google Gets Snakey in YouTube Easter Egg

By  |  Posted at 9:00 am on Monday, July 26, 2010

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As if watching YouTube wasn’t already a good way to procrastinate, now you can play Snake right inside many of YouTube’s videos.

YouTube user BikdipOnABus gets credit for documenting the Easter Egg, whose simplicity is astounding: On videos with the new playback style (the one with the thick red progress bar that narrows when you move the mouse away from it), click on the video window, then hold left on your keyboard. The video can be paused or playing when you do this.

To try it yourself, I recommend the YouTube video of a plain black screen, which should become pretty popular with this discovery.

YouTube Snake is not a particularly good version of the classic dot-eating game. I’m actually partial to Gmail’s take, which you can activate in Gmail Labs and play by typing “&” on the main screen, as long as you have keyboard shortcuts enabled. Unlike the YouTube version, Gmail’s “Old Snakey” saves high scores, has obstacles and speeds up as your snake gobbles more pellets.

Still, YouTube Snake is worth keeping in mind next time you’re watching something that drags on, but isn’t quite boring enough to stop watching entirely. I won’t read into it much further than that — I already had my fun interpreting Google Pac-Man — though it is interesting how the occasional game has cropped up on YouTube lately.

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