I love YouTube. I love posting videos to YouTube, reading the comments to videos and watching videos of all types: from music videos to Korean e-sports (hwaiting!) and obscure memes. So when I turned on YouTube today (totally for work purposes), I was surprised to find my beloved service with a fresh coat of code.
And then, after a few clicks, I realized that YouTube just nailed it—and maybe made Google+ relevant again.
But first, let’s talk about that YouTube homepage. Because it’s awesome.
Home is Where the ‘Tube Is
The homepage is the first thing many of us will notice. Previously, the YouTube homepage was a clutter of oddly selected recommended videos, a large ad and, most importantly, the search bar. Let’s be real: how many of us actually did anything other than go straight to the search bar or click on our profile to find our subscribed channels? Maybe it was just because of my spastic, genre-hopping video selections, but the recommended videos never worked for me. Somehow Justin Bieber or the latest Lady Gaga music video always ended up in my recommended videos, even though I listen to either artist about as often as I listen to Gregorian chants.
With the new redesign, I can easily avoid the Great Canadian Wonder and go straight to the channels that interest me. Channels have been moved to the spotlight, and a listing of subscribed channels is nicely tucked to the left side of the screen, while the videos themselves replace the recommended and recently watched videos sections. With a simple click, I can see what channel has posted new content or easily get to a favorited video that best epitomizes my mood. Those who still like to see what’s hot on YouTube can refer to the new “Trending” or “Popular” tabs, and I personally love the inclusion of a dedicated “Music” tab (just in case I decide to start watching Bieber videos).
Other than the homepage, better social integration is the biggest change. YouTube has designated Google+ and Facebook as the first and second spots under the subscriptions panel on the homepage. Now it’s easier than ever to see what friends have been watching on either service.
The top right corner, however, is what intrigues me the most. No matter what page you’re on or what you’re watching on YouTube, you can simply click a button and share that content to Google+. This makes video sharing a breeze and might help increase the popularity of Google+. After all, one of the most popular uses of social media is to share video content. One-click sharing (versus clicking “Share” underneath videos and selecting Facebook or Twitter) makes doing so even easier.
Note: we’ve discovered that not everyone is seeing the Google+ integration, while the + button in question is not working for everyone using certain browsers—particularly Google Chrome (of all things!). We’re unsure as to why, but we’ve contacted Google for more information. We’ll update this blog post as information arises.
Of course, there are other changes to YouTube, particularly for those with YouTube channels. New layouts, better analytics and a handy “Feed” button under Channels makes it easier than ever to see what other people are doing—a much more organic way to find interesting new videos.
At Standing Dog, we love the new layout of both the homepage and the Channels. What are your thoughts on the new YouTube layout? Love it? Hate it? Having troubles with any new features? Let us know!