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10 Killer Improvements YouTube Needs

DPic [PersonRank 10]

Monday, June 14, 2010
10 years ago8,482 views ...

Anybody else think YouTube still doesn't meet the expectations of a Google product?

<<YouTube's recent new look has brought on some great usability improvements, and their adoption of VP8/WebM video codec/format released by Google is even better. Still, there is much more to be done to increase YouTube's openness, foster a respectable community, more fairly promote quality content, fill the remaining gaps of missing features, and further improve and clean up the interface.

Do not be like MySpace

Nobody misses that atrocious monstrosity. Firstly, do not push this "new" bulletins feature back out. Spamming is not a feature.

Secondly, stop covering the homepage with advertising, especially all the deceptive sponsored content with fake video players, "close" buttons, and other misleading imagery. If more ads are needed, the partner program shouldn't be so exclusive (mentioned below). Take a look at this screenshot of a common occurrence, labeled with YouTube's #1 most popular comment, which leads us to the next idea.

Fix commenting

Promote better comments through a cleaner user interface. YouTube has improved slowly since being acquired, but still isn't what would be expected from Google. Site designs that waste space and don't make efficient use of screen real estate encourage short mindless posts.

Repeated comments could be filtered based on their length and uniqueness in the same vein as ROBOT9000. Short and common posts like "GAY" could be prevented entirely or at least made very inconvenient by requiring a captcha and displaying a prominent warning. Perhaps a minimum comment length should be adopted, at least temporarily.

Posting URLs should be allowed, but requiring a captcha would prevent spam.

Specify copyright

Allow publishers to specify their level of copyright with licenses like Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike (CC-BY-SA), GNU FDL, Kopimi, Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which is a "stronger" Public Domain dedication that functions even in countries without a public domain, etc.

Allow us to search for such videos by what we want to be able to do with them: share, remix, and/or use for commercial purposes

Provide a directory of music for publishers to use in their videos, perhaps partnering with Jamendo

Sensible accounts, contacts, and messaging

Now that YouTube uses Google Accounts, there is no excuse to separate channels and users. The current system is like if Blogger limited a each account to one blog. One should be able to have multiple channels and channels should support multiple admins. Another Google Account shouldn't be needed to create another channel for a different purpose.

It is entirely redundant to import contacts from GMail instead of simply using Google Contacts to begin with.

At the very least, YouTube's messaging interface needs to be fixed and cleaned up. It might even be better off eliminated. Neither Blogger or Picasa Web Albums have a special messaging interface, and YouTube's inbox seems to mainly collect spam. Instead, a contact form could be used much like on Google Profiles.

Automate featured videos

Replace the hand-picked "featured videos" system with something automated. Featured videos are unfair, impractical, and against the Google way. You can do much better to promote quality content from lesser-known YouTubers with algorithms.

Expand monetization

Let viewers easily donate to producers they like on YouTube using Google Checkout without forcing them to pay to download or rent the video. This will be especially useful for free culture works or anyone using the pay-what-you-want model.

Most people who apply to for the YouTube Partner Program get an email which opens with this: "Thank you for your interest in the YouTube Partner Program. Our goal is to extend invitations to as many partners as we can. Unfortunately we are unable to accept your application at this time. The current level of viewership of your account has not met our threshold for acceptance." If YouTube really wanted to extend this program to as many partners as possible, why is there even a viewership threshold? Anybody eligible for an AdSense account should be able to make money off of ads displayed with their videos. It's mutually beneficial.

Live streaming

YouTube has done a few live video streams for the past couple years but it hasn't been a standard feature available to anyone. It looks like that might finally change as an image on the Moderator help page shows a "Live Stream" button at the end of the bar (not the circled button towards the middle). When this feature become available, it would be cool to be able to broadcast to YouTube live from Jabber (Google Talk) with a video call.

Downloads and video blogging

If a publisher wants to allow free video downloads, this should be allowed. For videos where downloading is allowed, they should be available to download in WebM but also whatever the original file was.
Viewers should be able to subscribe to channels using RSS and Atom feeds like blogger. These should be easily accessed instead of requiring any special knowledge of how to find them.

Video files should be linked to directly as enclosures in channel feeds to enable proper video blogging. I understand YouTube may begin allowing audio uploads, so this would be an absolute must for podcasts, but it should be added now for videos to enable videocasts that can be listed on Miro for example.

If Blogger's reading list could by moved to Google Reader or some independent social subscription management site, then YouTube subscriptions might be better moved there so that people could follow channels using Google Friend Connect.

Publishing options

A video should not be published upon upload. The uploader should be given the chance to add captions, change video settings, allow encoding to finish in HD, wait for monetization approval, set a future publish date, etc, before having it pushed to their subscribers. Publishers are currently forced to set a video to private and change it to public once all the changes are made which pushes based on upload time, resulting in videos being buried in users' subscriptions.

Lift the ten minute limit which forced longer videos to be broken into segments. >>

Juha-Matti Laurio [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Epecially Automate featured videos sounds to be an interesting and cool idea.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

This is all good stuff. But YouTube misses even more fundamental usability features.

The "Add to Queue" functionality is great! But why isn't it available consistently throughout the site (e.g. on the related videos that appear after the end of a currently-playing video).

And if you click "Add to Queue" on a few recommended videos on the YouTube home page, there's option on that page to "start playing my queued videos". Instead, you must try to remember which one you queued first, and click on its thumbnail.

Or maybe I'm just missing the point of queues here.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

<<YouTube misses even more fundamental usability features.>>

True, but i believe YouTube is aware of those and working on them. Many of the things i listed, i'm not so sure YouTube is concerned about

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

On the other hand, YouTube are doing some amazing things.

Their automatically-generated music playlists seem to pull together above-average clips for each artist. The Disco Mix, although it seems to mix songs by only three artists, does a great job of picking which three related artists to use for each mix.

It's really nicely done.

Also, YouTube's streaming speed seems to have improved greatly over the past year or so. (I don't think it's just due to my ISP). The kids can be watching a full-screen feature film on YouTube while I watch something else on my work computer, without any stuttering or buffering.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

> Lift the ten minute limit which forced longer videos to be broken
> into segments

Isn't this all about MPEG-LA codec royalties which kick in for H.264 videos over 12 minutes (two cents per download minimum)? I assume that's why premium YouTube publishers can upload longer videos, because their advertising brings in an average of at least two cents per download.

Maybe if WebM takes off, the 10 minute limit will be dropped.

In the meantime, playlists plus "auto-play" are a workaround.

Streaming Media – The H.264 Licensing Labyrinth ...

DPic [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

>Isn't this all about MPEG-LA codec royalties which kick in for H.264 videos over 12 minutes (two cents per download minimum)? I assume that's why premium YouTube publishers can upload longer videos, because their advertising brings in an average of at least two cents per download.


>Maybe if WebM takes off, the 10 minute limit will be dropped.

Exactly =]

DPic [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Also, i accidentally only posted 9, so here's a 10th:

Make HTML5 with VP8/WebM default

YouTube should work on making sure that all of the features used in their flash interface (ads, annotations, etc), are also supported by their HTML5 interface.

The HTML5 interface should then be defaulted to with Google's free and open video codec and format, VP8 and WebM, respectively. The proliferation of a free video standard for the web is damn exciting, and this will help make VP8 and Ogg Theora dominate video and audio offline as well.

DPic [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

Sorry to triple post! When's blogoscoped going to get the auto-merge feature? x]

Add your support here to these suggestions here: ...

autochthonic [PersonRank 0]

10 years ago #

I don't think a minimum comment length would help. It's not hard to copy and paste, and that turns "GAY" into "GAYGAYGAYGAYGAYGAYGAYGAYGAY", which isn't better. I agree with captchas and a warning, however, but a warning would need to be followed up by actual heavy moderation of comments. Perhaps with an algorithm..?

All of your core ideas are fantastic, however.

[Reduced the number of "GAY"s to stop it messing up the page layout --rb]

EgoLayer13 [PersonRank 0]

10 years ago #

Thanks for the YouTube forum link, i've added my support!

DPic [PersonRank 10]

10 years ago #

<<It's not hard to copy...>>

True, but that slight extra effort would deter a lot of it, and it was just one possibility to try out. Something like R9K could be more effective with a captcha and warning

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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