Posted:
Following the tradition of our Google brethren,we'd like to share our blog highlights and thank you, our loyal blog readers, for making this the most successful year ever for the YouTube blog.

This is our 284th post of the year, which is 13% more than in 2008. In addition to more posts, we have more readers now -- 79% more, to be exact. The number of unique visitors jumped from 7.7 million last year to 13.7 million in 2009.

We posted about new products, the evolution of our social features, a slew of live streamed events and much more, but what generated the most buzz was What You Watched and Searched for on YouTube in 2009, a listing of the year's Most Watched videos and fastest-rising search terms, and announcements regarding the launches of 1080p and Shows & Movies. New Channels Coming Soon, another much-read item, topped our record for number of comments on any YouTube blog post -- over 50K.

We introduced several new series this year, including Release Notes, a periodic rundown of changes to the site; Curator showcases, highlighting people with a knack for finding great videos; and Video Volunteers, which is about mobilizing the talents of the YouTube community to help those in need. We used the blog to showcase your impressive achievements -- things like raising money to build wells in Africa, launching a label for YouTube musicians, and the historical milestone of the first user hitting 1 million subscribers -- as well as shed light on how YouTube is being used as a tool for free expression in Iran.. We took you behind the scenes to offer insight into the thought that goes into product development here, and we shared some stats that were hard even for us to wrap our heads around. Maybe we did a little trash talking, too.

We also launched three new blogs this year: the Biz Blog for partners and advertisers, a Spanish-language blog, and the Creator's Corner blog for anyone who makes videos. And we finally moved onto to the Blogger platform, bringing us into the 21st century when it comes to blog technology.

Whew. It was a busy year but we wouldn't have it any other way. Have a very happy New Year, thanks for reading, and see you in 2010!

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched "Bacon Candy Party Sticks."

Posted:
Did you know that we released more features in 2009 than in 2007 and 2008 combined? This made it the busiest year on record for the YouTube product and engineering teams. Some of these launches, like support for 1080p, made sizable splashes, while others, like "trending topics" appearing at the bottom of the browse page, went out with less fanfare. With so much going on, we wanted to pause before the new year begins to review the things that hopefully made the biggest impact on your overall YouTube experience:

  • Auto-Share - As part of our wider effort to integrate YouTube into the social and communication platforms you use every day, AutoShare automatically syndicates your YouTube activity to Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader.

  • 1080p - In November, we unveiled support for videos in 1080p (aka "full HD"). Want to test it out? Check out this video.

  • Auto-Speech Recognition - Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, coupled with YouTube's captioning system, makes videos more accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired. This same speech recognition technology can create machine-generated captions, which can then be translated into 51 languages.
  • Mobile Website for Smartphones - Watching videos on -- and uploading videos from -- cell phones is more popular than ever. To meet this demand, we launched a new mobile website designed to make using YouTube on smartphones like the iPhone, G1 and Palm Pre a lot easier.
  • YouTube XL - YouTube XL optimizes YouTube for large screens. In addition to offering larger text and simplified navigation, XL has a continuous play feature, allowing you to search for a topic, hit "play" and then kick back for an uninterrupted viewing experience.
  • VEVO - VEVO.com is a partnership that blends Google and YouTube's technology with music videos from a broad catalog of artists from Universal Music Group, Sony Music and EMI. The site hopes to redefine the way people watch and engage with music online, as well as change the way the digital and music industries do business with each other.

  • Feather - Feather is a stripped-down version of the page on which any video plays. Without all but the basic features, the page loads more quickly and videos play back faster. Give it a whirl in TestTube or click here.

  • 3D - In July, one of our engineers used his free time to implement easier viewing options for 3D videos on YouTube. Here's a brief overview video.
  • Real-Time Comment Search - In October, we released the ability to search YouTube comments in real-time. The comment appears on a continuously updated results page, and "trending topics" indicates the hottest topics of conversation on YouTube at that particular moment.
  • Shows & Movies - In April, we rolled out a destination sporting hundreds of movies and thousands of full-length TV episodes. Offerings have included film classics like Taxi Driver, Ghostbusters and the Spaghetti Western Trilogy, as well as current TV shows from broadcasters like C4 and Channel 5 in the UK.
Which of these features is your favorite? Please use the poll in the top right corner of this blog to let us know what you've found to be most useful in '09, or leave a comment below if there's another feature that had an important impact on your YouTube life.

Hunter Walk, Director, Product Management, and John Harding, Engineering Manager

Posted:
[cross-posted from the CitizenTube blog]


The images are grainy, often jerky and hard to follow (like most footage shot using hand-held cameras and cellphones), but the message is unmistakable: in the months since the disputed Iranian presidential election in June, the people of Iran have become fluent in the new language of citizen video reporting. What might have seemed an isolated moment immediately following the election, when we watched videos of Iranians marching, battling and even dying on the streets of Tehran, appears to have become an essential part of their struggle.

At YouTube, we have been watching week after week as new videos have appeared on the site within hours of every single protest or similar event reported from Iran in the past six months. Thousands of uploads have brought the fear and tension of these protests to YouTube, inviting millions of views around the world. It is as if the revolts that are taking place could not do so outside the eye of the camera.

Unlike traditional news footage from foreign correspondents (currently prohibited in Iran), these videos are the voice of the people — unfiltered, unedited and with a single, sometimes disturbing point of view. No professional film could capture the one-to-one feeling of watching an ordinary citizen's images of unrest in his or her own country.



We are constantly amazed by the videos our community uploads, whether from their own backyards or the streets of a faraway land. Armed with only a camera and a means to reach the Internet, anyone can ask another to bear witness to their lives. Given the nature of the YouTube videos from Iran, we may want to turn away from some of the images we see, but we keep watching, knowing that we are seeing through the eyes of a people who have discovered the power of information — despite the often extreme measures their government is using to try to stop them.

We will continue to provide the platform for you to see what they see, hear their voices and learn about their struggles. And we encourage you to join the global conversation. Leave a comment, upload your own response video or share a moving moment with someone else.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "29 Dec 09 Tehran Science & Technology university students protest against the government of Iran."

Posted:
Is there one issue facing the world today that you feel passionate about? Have you always wanted to take your cause directly to people who have the power to do something about it, but lacked access to have your voice heard? Now is your chance to make your pitch - and win a spot at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders will gather to hear what you have to say about the issue that matters most to you.

There is just one week left to submit a video for the opportunity to go to Davos. Each year, heads of state, business leaders, and social entrepreneurs gather at the World Economic Forum to discuss the most critical challenges facing citizens and nations around the world. And this year, one of you will get direct access to a special panel of these leaders at the Forum, to let them know why your cause matters.

The submission deadline is Monday, January 4, 2010, and all videos should be no longer than three minutes. Speak clearly and from the heart. Five finalists will be selected by a judging panel comprised of Paolo Coelho, Arianna Huffington and Muhammad Yunus. These finalist videos will then go to public vote on January 8, with a winner announced on January 19.

This is the chance you've been waiting for... unprecedented access to the world's most powerful leaders who can make a difference for your cause. Visit the Davos YouTube channel to submit your video and make your pitch to the world.




Steve Grove, News & Politics, recently watched "Mahmoud Jabari - Davos Competition."

Posted:
From the Iran protests to the uprising of monks in Burma, YouTube has become a place where citizens can expose human rights violations and promote free expression. This month, we were excited to see many of you help the organizations that regularly combat injustice and abuse around the world, by creating a video for one of them through Video Volunteers.

Spurred by Morgan Freeman's heartfelt call-out video and International Human Rights Day, which occurred earlier this month, you submitted videos on behalf of nonprofits working on issues like conflict minerals, the situation in Darfur and sex trafficking:



Today, the top three selections will appear on the YouTube homepage to raise awareness of several pressing human rights issues. We're also featuring Morgan Freeman's "volunteer" video for Amnesty International, which uses claymation to discuss the power of words in fighting injustice:



We'll be back with another round of Video Volunteers in January and our spotlight issue will be the arts, so if you're an arts organization who would like a volunteer to create a video for you, please fill out this form and your opportunity will be posted to the Video Volunteers channel.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched "Maya Lin: Unchopping a Tree."

Posted:
Oooh, it's almost Christmas! And that means that Santa is about to leave his digs at the North Pole to embark upon his '09 World Tour, placing presents under the trees of good little girls and boys all over the planet. Where will he be, and when will he make it to your house?

You can find the answer at www.noradsanta.org. You see, every year, NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, tracks Santa's journey from the time he lifts off from his Arctic village to his final stop in Hawaii at the end of a looooooooong night. You can join the ride at Noradsanta.org or try m.noradsanta.org if you prefer to do your Santa tracking on a mobile phone. You'll also want to subscribe to the NORAD Tracks Santa YouTube channel, which will contain videos of many of his stops around the world, all captured by NORAD's Santa Cam network.

Take a peek at the fun that ensued last year and brace yourself for 2009's merry ride:



Jeff Martin, Santa Wannabe, recently watched "How to Grow a Beard in 3 Easy Steps!"

Posted:
It's all the rage: link shorteners to ensure that those useful URLs you're sharing don't take up too much precious character count while also giving you an inkling of what you're about to click on. Well, we've just launched youtu.be as a shortener for YouTube video links -- and nothing but YouTube links -- so you can rest assured that when you see a link with this URL, you are indeed about to click on a YouTube video. (Also, because the link contains the ID of the video you're going to see, developers can do interesting things like show you thumbnails, embed the video directly, or track how a video is spreading in real-time.)

To see this feature in action, use AutoShare to link up your YouTube account to social networks like Twitter and Google Reader. Then, whenever you favorite a video on YouTube, for example, that action will get syndicated out to your network, who will see this shortened edition of the video's URL.

To use youtu.be manually, simply take a URL like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdeioVndUhs and replace the"http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=" with "http://youtu.be/" to get: http://youtu.be/FdeioVndUhs Plug that shorter URL into a browser, and you'll see it redirects to that video.

Vijay Karunamurthy, Engineering Manager, recently watched "Suzy Snowflake" again, thanks to Diablo Cody.

Posted:
Entertainment Weekly columnist Diablo Cody stopped writing for a minute (she's also a scribe on Showtime's The United States of Tara and penned Juno) to share her favorite YouTube videos with the world. Here she reveals which videos make her laugh, cry and feel all nostalgic.



"Dog and Elephant":This CBS News report never fails to make me cry. We're talking ugly,ragged sobs. It actually replaced "Christian the Lion: Reunion" as mygo-to animal weepfest.

"Valentine for Perfect Strangers":Though it's a few years old, this bizarre short is still my all-timefavorite thing on YouTube. I wish Otto had made a sequel, but perhapsit's best that he wasn't subjected to "Chocolate Rain"-styleoverexposure.

"Alternate Duck Tales Intro":Truly sick (and from a production standpoint, truly slick.) Those of uswho always suspected Scrooge McDuck was evil will be vindicated afterwatching this. Warning: disturbing content.

"Love in this Club, by the Rock-afire Explosion":If you grew up with the Showbiz Pizza Place chain in your area, youmight remember the "house band"-- a gang of animatronic singinganimals. Today, Rock-afire fan Chris Thrash reprograms the robots toplay modern club bangers. Funny and impressive.

"Suzy Snowflake":I remember watching this vintage stop-motion short on Chicago's WGNevery Christmas. I hope to show it to my kids someday. It's easy toforget that YouTube isn't just a time-suck, it's an archival tool.

For more celebrity playlists, click here.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched "Norah Jones and Jimmy Kimmel Sing YouTube's 12 Days of Christmas."

Posted:
In honor of the shortest day of the year (at least here in the northern hemisphere), we've changed our homepage logo today to have a wintry feel. Happy holidays!



The YouTube Team

Posted:
You might have noticed that YouTube's been getting a lot more social lately. We've launched several features in the last few months that let you better connect with the platforms that matter most to you (and discover new videos you're likely to love in the process). In addition to linking your YouTube account to social networks like Twitter and Facebook via AutoShare, friend suggestions and easier private sharing options, you can easily find the YouTube accounts belonging to your friends on Facebook, Yahoo! and Gmail. Then, once you've subscribed to someone, you might start seeing their public actions (things like favorites, ratings and comments) in your Recent Activity module on your homepage (assuming they've set these preferences).

This week we've added another launch to the "social feature" list: a feed that pushes the YouTube videos your friends are embedding on Facebook back to your YouTube homepage. This feature is in test mode right now, but there is a way for you to experiment with it while it's being worked on: visit this page and connect to Facebook in the area that says "Where do I share my activities?" (If you've already hooked this up, you may need to disconnect and reconnect accounts to enable.) You can choose to "Disable AutoShare" right afterwards if you don't want your YouTube actions to be syndicated out to Facebook. But if you do want your YouTube-related Facebook activity to be syndicated back to YouTube, the key is that you just stay connected to Facebook. Alternatively, you can search for your friends using the friend finding module on the homepage, and that will also connect you to Facebook. Once hooked up, it might take a little while for videos to start appearing on your homepage during this experimental phase.

We see the YouTube homepage as only the start of your video journey. It's where you should be able to get a snapshot of the "YouTube Zeitgeist" at any moment -- that is, those videos that are most relevant to you and to the times. Sometimes those videos are served up by algorithms that offer recommendations based on your viewing history or the channels you're subscribed to. By adding the videos your friends are embedding on Facebook into the mix, we're hoping to close a loop with regards to how videos are shared and consumed these days. Take a look at these stats to see just how much YouTube content is viewed off the site:
  • Facebook: 46.2 years of videos watched a day
  • Orkut: 12.7 years of videos watched a day
  • MySpace: 5.6 years of videos watched a day
  • Hi5: 1.2 of years of videos watched a day
Pretty amazing, right? These kinds of numbers underscore the need for us to more tightly integrate social platforms with YouTube, because at the end of the day, we hope YouTube becomes your portal to video on the Web, particularly the social Web that has become so integral to our lives.

Chris Testa, Software Engineer, recently watched "I'm Yours(ukulele)," which his friend Jason posted into his Recent Activity via Facebook.

Posted:
This year’s iteration of The Davos Debates is up and running, offering one YouTube user the opportunity to attend this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos to put forward the cause they are most passionate about at a specially convened panel.

Our candidate will get the opportunity to engage and debate with the world’s leaders and take the opportunity that Davos offers to elevate the cause that is closest to their heart. As you can imagine: we’re looking for someone a bit special. Someone like you? See below for more details:




What sort of person are we looking for?

The winner of the Davos Debates will be someone with knowledge and passion for a public cause, who can demonstrate they're able to interact with the world's leaders. We want to hear real stories from people working on local issues, with a view to offering the opportunity to make these concerns global. Maybe it's fighting for human rights, or the environment, or against poverty? Maybe it's world fishing, education, or political freedoms? Whatever it is, we're looking someone who isn't afraid to get their voice heard, and give them the chance to be at Davos.

How does it work?


From today until the January 4, we're asking YouTube users to submit their video entries. Five finalists will be selected by a judging panel comprised of Paolo Coelho, Arianna Huffington and Muhammad Yunus. These finalist videos will then go to public vote on January 8, with a winner announced on the January 19.

Beyond that, and the information at the World Economic Forum channel, it's up to you. So get filming, rally some support and Make Your Pitch To The World.


Steve Grove, News & Politics, recently watched “
CNN/YouTube Climate Debate"

Posted:
 Update (5pm PT): Wondering which YouTube videos inspire the creator of TBL? Watch Ashton's celebrity playlist here.


++++++++++++++++

Today we are teaming up with Katalyst, a studio for social media co-founded by Ashton Kutcher, and HP to bring previously unaired episodes of Katalyst’s television drama "The Beautiful Life" to YouTube at www.youtube.com/TBL.



The TBL series is being presented without commercial interruption by HP in connection with its Create Change program. As part of "The Beautiful Life" experience on YouTube, Katalyst and HP have asked the show’s stars and viewers to participate by recording, tagging and posting video commentary about how they will create positive change in 2010.

We're excited to bring first-run original programming like this to the YouTube community. The first two episodes of the series, originally aired on the CW, will debut today, followed by the remaining three episodes beginning on December 21. We're sure devout TBL fans will enjoy this holiday treat, and we think the show is likely to find many new fans through YouTube.

George Strompolos, Strategic Partnerships, recently watched "The Beautiful Life - Episode 2."

Posted:
This year has been the biggest yet for online video, and for the first time we're sharing our official Most Watched lists and some of the fastest-rising search terms on YouTube. Some moments were big (President Obama's inauguration), some small (a Minnesota wedding party erupts into dance), some expected ("New Moon"), some surprising (Susan Boyle) — but all of them inspired, entertained and connected millions of people around the world via YouTube.

For these lists, we looked at view counts of YouTube's most popular videos this year (in some instances we aggregated views across multiple versions of the same video):

Most Watched YouTube videos (Global):
1. Susan Boyle - Britain's Got Talent (120+ million views)
2. David After Dentist (37+ million views)
3. JK Wedding Entrance Dance (33+ million views)
4. New Moon Movie Trailer (31+ million views)
5. Evian Roller Babies (27+ million views)

Most Watched music videos on YouTube (Global)*:
1. Pitbull "I Know You Want Me" (82+ million views)
2. Miley Cyrus "The Climb" (64+ million views)
3. Miley Cyrus "Party in the U.S.A." (54+ million views)
4. The Lonely Island "I'm On a Boat" (48+ million views)
5. Keri Hilson "Knock You Down" (35+ million views)

Then, to determine the fastest rising search terms for each month, we examined the billions of queries that people searched for on YouTube (through December 15):

Fastest Rising YouTube search terms by month (Global):
January: inauguration
February: christian bale
March: the climb
April: susan boyle
May: pacquiao vs hatton
June: michael jackson thriller
July: michael jackson
August: usain bolt
September: kanye west
October: paranormal activity
November: bad romance
December: tiger woods

Fastest Rising YouTube search terms by month (U.S.):
January: obama inauguration
February: on a boat
March: watchmen
April: susan boyle
May: pacquiao
June: michael jackson thriller
July: wedding
August: send it on
September: kanye west
October: paranormal activity
November: adam lambert
December: tiger woods

There are a lot of interesting nuggets in here. The fastest rising U.S. search term in July was [wedding], clearly related to "JK Wedding Entrance Dance," the third Most Watched YouTube video of the year. And while [michael jackson] was Google's fastest rising search term in 2009, [michael jackson thriller] was the faster rising search on YouTube. Movie trailers ("New Moon," "Watchmen," "Paranormal Activity") and inspirational moments (Susan Boyle, Usain Bolt) were popular, as were sensational celebrity scandals (Christian Bale, Kanye West and, most recently, Tiger Woods).

We hope to expand these lists in the future, so if there are any "Most Watched" categories you'd like to see in 2010, let us know by leaving a comment below.

Jamie Davidson, Associate Product Manager, recently watched "Top 10 quirky science tricks for Christmas parties."

*Note: Some music videos may be unavailable in your country due to copyright restrictions.

Posted:
Today, at 8 a.m. ET, a panel of world climate leaders, among them former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and journalist Thomas Friedman, will gather in Copenhagen and answer the top questions that you submitted to the CNN/YouTube Climate Debate channel.

You can watch them address the issues that matter to you in real-time: We'll be live-streaming the debate at www.youtube.com/cop15.

Thank you for making this event truly international. We received thousands of questions from Italy to Brazil, Nigeria to New Zealand. To get a scope of just how many countries are represented, see this map, which depicts global submissions through a Google Earth layer.

And if you didn't have a chance to submit a question, but still want to raise your voice about climate change, we encourage you to join the discussion on Twitter during the debate using hashtag #cnnytdebate.

Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, recently watched "Please Help the World."

Posted:
Here are a couple of things we launched recently:

Find your Facebook friends and Yahoo contacts on YouTube: In addition to finding your Gmail contacts on YouTube, now you can find and connect with the people you know on Facebook and Yahoo (that is, those who also have YouTube accounts and have connected their YouTube and Facebook accounts through AutoShare). Sign in and visit the homepage to be prompted with an invite (see screenshot below) to sync up your YouTube account to these platforms, and from there it should be easy to subscribe to the YouTube channels of people you know through these networks. Please note that this functionality is only available if your friends and contacts have allowed themselves to be found by their email address.


Total video views: Go to anyone's channel and now you can see how many views all of their uploads have received. This number can be added (or removed) from your own Profile by clicking "edit" on your channel's info module.

Cosmetic change to playlist display in search: When you search for playlists, we've changed the presentation of the results slightly, so that they are more strongly visually identified on the page. See how the thumbnails "cascade" here, indicating that this is actually a series of videos? In experiments, this layout didn't affect usage of playlists; we just like how it looks!



Recent Activity grouping/expansions: Turning on your activity feed means that anyone who's subscribed to you gets a notice in their feed when you favorite, comment on, rate videos and more (you can set up those preferences here). We've recently done some experimental upgrades focusing on grouping similar updates together. For example, now you can see when someone's favorited more than one video and what those videos are. Also, we'll now show things like "person A and five others favorited a video," which could be a strong signal to you that the video is getting circulated a lot among your friends and might be worth checking out.

New moderation options in Groups: Groups are a way for people with common interests to get together to talk about and post videos. Think Keyboard Cat fans or Nine Inch Nails enthusiasts -- whatever your interest, there's probably a group out there devoted to it. In an effort to improve group administration, we recently added a channel-style edit box at the top of Groups. Any group you are an owner of will have a full set of admin actions at the top of the page. From this interface, group owners can edit core settings of their group, like name and description, as well as set video and topic posting policies (see below). Both owners and moderators can use this interface to manage new topics and videos, streamlining the process of approving or rejecting group content.


We've also fixed a number of bugs, like removing owner approval requirements when replying to existing posts and preventing "ballot stuffing" for contest-oriented groups. Also, to encourage your friends to join and participate in groups that are important to you, your posts to public groups will soon find their way into your friends' homepage feeds, and the activity of other group members will also find their way into your homepage feed (all of the normal privacy options will apply, and we'll be adding new ones to allow more fine-grained control). We hope you find these new groups features useful and intuitive, and certainly let us know in the comments below what you think. Otherwise, why not create a group today?

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Our curator of the month is eGuiders.com, a site that asks Hollywood and Internet influencers, media mavens and other experts to select and review their favorite made-for-the-web content. On their YouTube channel, they've replicated much of the discovery experience that reflects the collective sensibilities of their team of curators (aka eGuiders) -- it's a team that includes nalts, mediocrefilms' Greg Benson, barelypolitical's Ben Relles, NPR's Margot Adler, blogger/technology advocate Robert Scoble and many more.



The channel hosts seven playlists divided by genre; each one serving as a quick overview of videos eGuiders have determined to be interesting, funny or entertaining. Says CEO/co-founder Marc Ostrick:

"Curation is, and will always be, subjective. Our approach is to allow our team to dig and search for content that they find exciting and valuable. Most of our eGuiders have a specific genre that they specialize in or have a proclivity towards, and we support their passion for online video by giving them a platform to share their sensibilities. However, at the end of the day, eGuiders is not about a single voice -- it is about the collection of many dynamic voices that contribute to overall goal of validating the Internet as a credible medium for storytellers."

The eGuiders channel also hosts original content focusing on different aspects of social media, all shot with HD pocket video tools like the Zi8 and Flip Ultra HD.

As December's guest curators, eGuiders have selected the four undiscovered gems you see in the homepage spotlight today and they've got many more quality clips at the ready as a reward for subscribing to their channel.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently favorited "The Watch."

Posted:
Take off your winter coat and warm up your webcams as this holiday season YouTube brings the age-old tradition of caroling to the digital world. Now you can sing and share carols via YouTube without having to abandon your cup of hot cocoa to tramp door-to-door in the snow. Just go to our caroling channel page to join Happy Slip and others in doing your best rendition of classic sing-alongs like "Jingle Bells" and "Deck the Halls," along with other customized carols. For example, sneak a peek at these YouTube Carolers who are already spreading the holiday cheer:

Another bonus? In the spirit of the season, our sponsors TJ Maxx and Marshalls will donate money to Toys for Tots for every carol submitted. They are also offering a $5,000 gift card to the best caroler who sings one of their two original songs.

This program continues through December, so be sure to add your voice to the season at www.youtube.com/caroling. Later this month we'll be highlighting some of the best submissions on the site.

Michele Flannery, Music Manager, recently watched "Silent Night."

Posted:

Last week, we announced the CNN/YouTube Climate Debate in Copenhagen, an effort to make sure that your voice is included in the climate debate — and that your questions are posed to decision-makers on an international stage. Today, we want to inform you that panelists will include former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, journalist Thomas Friedman, U.N. Executive Secretary Yves de Boer and author Bjorn Lomberg.


To submit your question for these leaders, upload a short video of yourself posing the question and submit it here: www.youtube.com/cop15. We've already seen some top-notch video questions like this one from Angela in Italy who wants to know about the consequences of climate change, and this question from Mo in Florida who is concerned about the cost of going green:



The top questions will be posed to leaders during the debate, and also projected onto the CO2 Cube, a 3-story art installation now residing in the center of Copenhagen, built to represent one metric ton of carbon and powered by YouTube videos related to the climate crisis. Here's an in-depth look at this stunning artistic display:



You can submit your video at www.youtube.com/cop15 and vote on questions for potential inclusion in the debate and on the Cube. The debate will be live-streamed in full on the COP 15 channel, and onto the Cube, on December 15 so make sure to watch and see if world leaders answer your question.

Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched, "Day Three of the Climate Talks"

Posted:
You might notice a periodic module on the homepage called Spotlight Videos (if you don't, add it to your homepage). These run a few times per week and showcase interesting and timely videos from our community and partners, all organized around an event or theme. We'll often give you advance notice of upcoming spotlights in the Creator's Corner, our hub for videographers. Subscribe to the Creator's Corner blog and look for posts titled "Creators Call-Outs" to find out about opportunities to appear on our homepage.

As we plan the spotlight calendar for 2010, feel free to drop a comment below with suggestions for themes, milestones, holidays, events, and community stories that need to be told. Though some of our most popular spotlights in '09 centered around newsy themes or celebrities that gripped the whole world (see list below), we are equally interested in highlighting the lesser-told stories of how individuals can use YouTube to catalyze movements, memes, and new forms of creativity.

And with that, 2009's most popular homepage spotlights were:

1. Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits
2. Michael Jackson Tribute
3. Reality TV (at the height of the Jon & Kate Plus 8 frenzy)
4. Susan Boyle / Britain's Got Talent
5. Iran Protests
6. Mythbusters: YouTube Edition
7. Hannah Montana Concert and Vlog
8. Twilight-Inspired Parodies and Rant
9. World Oceans Day
10. Before They Were Stars, featuring Adrian Grenier, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Catherine Zeta Jones in early roles

Surprised? What was your favorite spotlight? What should we do more or less of? Looking forward to hearing your feedback and ideas for 2010. Please leave a comment below.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently favorited "PostSecret: Fifty People One Question."

Posted:
After nearly 35 years on air, PBS NewsHour recently re-launched its broadcast program and website in an effort to provide viewers with NewsHour content wherever, whenever and however they want to access it. As part of this transformation, the nightly news program is starting a major new initiative with YouTube.

The PBS NewsHour channel on YouTube (http://youtube.com/pbsnewshour) will host nightly reports from the NewsHour television broadcast, posted the same night the broadcast airs on PBS. The NewsHour will also post web-original videos featuring its new online correspondent Hari Sreenivasan. These news segments will be archived on the NewsHour YouTube channel, ensuring that those looking for video of past news events will easily be able to find it.

The launch of the PBS NewsHour channel is the latest in a series of PBS and NewsHour projects with YouTube, including last year's Video Your Vote project that encouraged voters to film and post their experience at the polls during Election Day 2008. The project attracted more than 2,500 videos from across the country, which PBS was able to incorporate into its Election Night coverage.

While the new NewsHour program, website and YouTube channel represent the evolution of how we consume the news in the 21st century, the journalism within will continue to engage, inform and enlighten Americans about the issues and events that directly affect their everyday lives — just as it has from the very beginning.




Jim Lehrer, anchor of NewsHour, and Obadiah Greenberg, YouTube Strategic Partner Manager

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Every day millions of people come to YouTube to watch some of the biggest names in music; stars like Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and U2. Today we are happy to launch VEVO, a video site devoted exclusively to music and powered by YouTube. This new destination hopes to redefine the way people watch and engage with music online, as well as change the way the digital and music industries do business with each other. The partnership blends Google and YouTube's leading technology with material from a broad catalog of top artists from Universal Music Group, Sony Music and EMI. Check it out at VEVO.com and at YouTube.com/vevo, and listen to Rihanna's welcome message:



Chris Maxcy, Director of Content Partnerships

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YouTube's Creator's Corner and Videomaker magazine are pleased to offer another free Webinar to help newer videographers get comfortable with every aspect of the production process. This time, the topic is Basic Editing Techniques, and it will take place on December 17, 2009, at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET. You can register here for the free, hour-long seminar. (Once you've clicked the link, you'll be redirected to an external page provided by our partner, Webex. Please fill in the required information and click "Submit." You'll then be registered for the event.)

We want to make sure this session addresses the topics most useful to you, so we hope you'll take a minute to answer the survey in the top right corner of this blog: When it comes to editing techniques, what do you want to learn about? Check off as many topics that apply in the poll, or leave a comment beneath this blog post. The Videomaker team will consider your requests when putting together their presentation.

This Webinar follows the Basic Production Techniques course held in October.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, YouTube, and Scott Memmott, Content Director, Videomaker

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This month, we’re proud to present eight of the best short films we’ve ever seen (ever!) in the Screening Room, our destination for top films from the film festival circuit.

While we often program the Screening Room around specific themes (perhaps horror flicks or graphic novel adaptations ring a bell?), this month’s sponsor, Canon's VIXIA, had just one request for us: skip the theme and bring people some of the finest films out there.

So, without further ado, here are the first four….

“Madame Tutli-Putli” is a stunning stop-motion animated film that was nominated for an Academy Award in 2007. The animation took over five years to complete and featured a groundbreaking technique that included adding composited human eyes to stop-motion puppets.

"The Mozart of Pickpockets," from France, was not only nominated for an Academy Award, but actually won the honor in 2007. It tells the story of two hapless Parisian pickpockets who finally hit their stride when they take a young immigrant boy under their wings.

Directed by New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (whose feature film “Eagle vs. Shark” was snapped up by Miramax Films at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival), "Two Cars, One Night" is another Academy Award nominee.  It tells the darling story of young love born out of rivalry in a parking lot outside a rural pub. Waititi's latest film, "Boy," was just selected for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Lastly, "Doxology," a stop-motion animated short featuring a dancing Oldsmobile, a boozy encounter with God, and lots of teeth brushing, hair combing and flossing, won the Slamdance Film Festival in 2008 and was nominated for a Student Academy Award.

We’ll feature another four stand-out shorts starting December 15, so save room for more.

Dim the lights,

Sara Pollack, Entertainment Marketing Manager, recently watched “Pilgrims”

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One of our priorities is ensuring that videos always load and playback quickly. However, a consequence of rolling out higher quality video, HD and, more recently, 1080p, is that playbacks might suffer if bandwidth or computer processing power is low. There are also a few countries where bandwidth is at a premium and videos can take several seconds to start playing.

Let's face it: in this age of instant gratification, even several seconds of loading time can feel like an eternity.

With all of this in mind, "Feather," an ultra light watch page, launches today in TestTube, our ideas incubator where we test out new products. As you can see by the below screenshot, the player still features prominently, but will default to standard quality. Related videos, comments and other familiar features from the current watch page are kept to a minimum. All of this results in a user experience that aims to keep things simple and the videos loading and playing quickly. If we see adoption go up along with improvements in latency, we'll look to roll this out of TestTube and make it more widely available.



Take Feather for a test drive here.

Chris Zacharias, Engineer, recently watched "TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB - I Can Talk."

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Next week 192 countries will participate in the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen — the first step in setting new international commitments for carbon reduction. We want to be sure your voice is included in the debate.

That's why, starting today, you can submit and vote on questions to ask world climate leaders during a televised town hall on CNN. With Google Moderator on YouTube for the first time, you can view, add, and vote on video or text questions in one spot.




Questions will be translated into numerous languages using the Google Language API, giving you a chance to read and vote on text questions from around the world. Voting and submissions will be accepted until December 14. You can also track the conversation and vote on new questions. Visit www.youtube.com/cop15 now to get started.

Next week we'll post an update on popular and interesting questions. We're looking forward to seeing what ideas you and others around the world have for addressing climate change.

Steve Grove, Head of YouTube News & Politics and Colby Ranger, Tech Lead, Google Moderator, recently watched "Roland Emmerich - Raise Your Voice"

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With 40,000+ subscribers and a couple of hit videos, the folks behind the phonedog channel know a thing or two about making popular product-review videos (in their case, mobile phone reviews). In the spirit of the holidays, they've kindly agreed to share their secrets with you, to help the next generation of tech reviewers rise up on YouTube.

Ask any question you like about how to be an effective gadget reviewer by leaving a comment on -- or uploading a response video to -- this video. phonedog will review your questions and then make a tutorial video, uploaded around December 15, to help give you your start in this field. Take their advice or leave it, but definitely test it out, particularly on any hot new gadgets you or your friends receive this holiday season. We'll be featuring three of the most promising new reviewers, as selected by phonedog, on the YouTube homepage during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January.

For more details, Noah from phonedog lays it all out:



Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently favorited "The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody."

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We'd give you chocolates with it if we could: This week marks the launch of our advent-style calendar counting down some of the most memorable videos of the year on YouTube. This sponsored collection, presented by Samsung U10, will reveal one new popular video each day throughout the month of December.

Without giving too much away, you can expect to see some well-known YouTube videographers on the countdown, along with breakout viral videos and a selection of the year's biggest pop-culture phenoms and memes.

During December, we'll be adding playlists to the channel to dig a little deeper into YouTube's content categories -- because we know that a video doesn't have to have millions of views to make an impact.

So check out the countdown as it unfolds, and see if your favorite clips or personalities are featured. Definitely let us know in the comments what your video of the year would be, whether it's a blockbuster clip or one that simply made an impression on you. With a limit of 31 videos in the countdown, we know it only just scratches the surface of this incredible time on YouTube.

Mark Day, Marketing Programs Manager, recently watched "Beatles 3000."

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It's no secret that AIDS is one of the deadliest diseases facing our world today. Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 60 million people have been infected with HIV and 25 million people have died of HIV-related causes. But did you know that some of those hardest hit by AIDS are children? The disease has killed over 2 million children, and in sub-Saharan Africa it has orphaned close to 15 million.

That's why, today, on World AIDS Day, we're partnering with Alicia Keys and her organization, Keep a Child Alive, to present a live-streamed benefit concert at 8 p.m. (ET). We're also encouraging everyone to donate $5 to provide the life-saving medication, support, and orphan care to keep these children alive. Learn more from Alicia herself about this important effort:



You can make a difference today. Please tune in here at 8 p.m (ET) to watch Alicia Keys and donate to help save the lives of millions of children living with HIV/AIDS.

Michele Flannery, Music Manager, and Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits Manager, recently watched "The Lazarus Effect."

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YouTube can be a powerful tool championing the rights of individuals and promoting free expression. This month, during International Human Rights Day, we're partnering with Morgan Freeman and Amnesty International to encourage you to become advocates for equality and justice, through Video Volunteers.

Here's how you can help. Create a video about the nonprofit of your choice working on a human rights issue that you care about -- it could be genocide, human trafficking, refugee protection, gender equality or something else -- and submit it to the Video Volunteers channel by December 21. Amnesty International and Freeman, who plays legendary crusader Nelson Mandela in the upcoming movie Invictus, will select three videos to appear on the YouTube homepage at the end of the month. Hear more from Morgan about the importance of taking up this cause:



This is your chance to help citizens around the world who often can't help themselves and to bring the vital work of human rights organizations to light. Join Morgan Freeman to protect the rights of these individuals at www.youtube.com/videovolunteers.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism Manager, recently favorited "To Protect & Serve: Police Brutality in India."