Quick Impressions: YouTube Redesign

Google seems to be the top story on many different topics in the Internet world right now. They recently launched Google+, which, if you’ve read any of my other posts this week, has been the only thing I’ve really wanted to talk about. Google is also in the midst of redesigning other products and services, giving them a fresh look very consistent to the new Google+ look. Gmail and YouTube both are the current targets in this redesign, and it definitely has some pros and cons to it.

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YouTube is beta testing an all new look…and it’s just okay, for now.

In the above image, you see that addicting-to-watch, lovable dog being teased about food. But thats not the main focus here. The video-interface has changed drastically, with it’s new black background and adjustable screen size. What is absolutely terrible, however, is the placement of the ad in that interface. I would have much rather seen the video centered on the screen, and have the ad outside of the black box. Its very distracting to look at. Playback controls are similar, and the only thing missing seems to be the ability to skip frames and playback frames. The video interface, in general, is just okay to me.

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The Comments and Suggested Videos Section is a lot better to look at.

The redesigned Comments and Suggested Videos section is something I could get used to, on the other hand. It seems a whole lot more organized. Your suggested videos show up on large icons with a still from the video, which looks a whole lot cleaner and more sophisticated. The comments are more spaced out, giving them a neater look as well. Overall, this section of the redesign is quite welcomed.

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I think Google needs to do a little more work to perfect this. While I do like the overall look that Google is trying to go for, I really can’t stand how the video interface looks. They really should consider ditching the ads or having a banner at the top or bottom of the page. My biggest gripe is how large and out of place the advertisements look. After that, center the video on the page, and this will look so much better. But as of now, this “Cosmic Panda,” as the project is called, isn’t ready for launch.

The Social War Begins!

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A war is brewing in the social front. Google+ is starting to get the people’s attention after invites have opened up and not shut down. Facebook is unveiling new chat services aimed at keeping people on Facebook longer. Twitter is working to implement it’s own photo sharing service. LinkedIn is making it’s presence more well known. It’s definitely not quiet in the social media world, and we may be getting ready to see a massive outbreak of changes as the social empires prepare to duke it out to keep people away from the others.

As you may have seen, in the past week, Digital Lust has been extensively covering Google+, the new social experience created by the masterminds of Google. After a successful “field testing period,” the media empire began to open up invites, closing them as needed. This time around, however, the site hasn’t shut down the ability to invite your friends, and it’s been about 24 hours since it started. People are going crazy, trying to get their hands on a shiny Google+ invite (which, by the way, I’m still having a giveaway for!). It’s very reminiscent of when Google first launched Gmail back in 2004. And if Google+ even gets close to the popularity of Gmail at its launch, then the other social networks should be concerned. Very, very concerned.

Last week, Facebook announced that they were partnering with Skype to provide an all new video chatting service, directly from the browser, and only on Facebook.com. That all sounds well and good, except, Google+ got there first. Google implemented a video chatting service, Hangouts, right as Google+ started it’s launch, and it works well. Very, very well. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has signed up for a Google+ account, and has a very serious image as his profile picture. Almost as if he fears what Google is hoping to accomplish with G+. Google+ shows up very less cluttered than Facebook. Posts are better organized. You can organize your friends ij a unique way. In a sense, Google+ is everything that Facebook should improve upon.

And then there’s Twitter. 140 characters of fun every time you want to post. Your friends become your “followers,” and you follow your friends. Google+ has a similar way of “following” people…except your posts can be as long as you want. It has it’s own photo streaming service. In a sense, Google+ is everything that Twitter should improve on (is anyone catching what I’m trying to say here?).

I can’t speak much about LinkedIn, as I find it to be extremely boring. But the point being, is that Google is not just in this to be an extra social experience. It’s here to be THE social experience. If Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn don’t want to become the next Myspace, they really need to get to work to make some improvements. My prediction for the first casualty of this new war: LinkedIn, of course. It’s a service that isn’t used as widely as the others, and I feel like some of the features that G+ has implemented could steer people away. And as for Twitter…it should really get to work. It might be next to go to that great social network resting place in the sky.