Just a few weeks ago, the new YouTube makeover was leaked, giving us another look at Google’s long-term plans of taking the site from amateur hour to professional platform. While we’re not quite there yet, Google has officially announced the new look, which definitely gives us a peak at the overall direction.
The overall theme Google seems to be going for is less like the Internet, more like TV—and hopefully it will strike the perfect chord in between these two mediums. Both are changing and evolving (especially when it comes to consuming content) and many outlets are pouring ample time and attention into finding the perfect balance while also making production studios happy.
And it’s been quite the evolution for YouTube. Does anyone remember what the site’s homepage used to look like? The focus was predominantly on videos: recently uploaded videos, the most played videos, sponsored videos. And while some of this had to do with your personal profile, that clearly wasn’t the main priority. Now, Google’s injecting a whole lot more customization into your immediate YouTube experience.
The first thing you see upon logging in are the channels you’re subscribed to, your right-hand navigation sidebar, and the videos that are recommended to you. Then, underneath your personal information in the sidebar is a “From YouTube” section. This is what YouTube used to revolve around, but now is more of an afterthought. When you aren’t logged in (or don’t have an account), the “From YouTube” section is front and center, although you are definitely pointed toward making a profile.
Personalization also extends to Channels. You can now choose between different templates to give your channel its own distinct look.
This is all good news for the avid YouTube users. Those who consistently use the platform to create and share content and really involve themselves in the community aspects of the site will benefit from these improvements. But what about everyone else—everyone who just wants to randomly discover YouTube videos? It isn’t really geared for unearthing random videos anymore, and aimlessly finding some gem isn’t as easy as it used to be. YouTube seems hell-bent on using your profile to suggest content so you don’t actually have to do it yourself.
Users can also link other social networking sites, like Google+ and Facebook. This means that all your publicly uploaded videos will be automatically shared to these two sites, and show you what videos are being shared via these platforms.
The new redesign is inarguably polished thanks to the Cosmic Panda upgrade we saw earlier this year. And it is obvious that YouTube is putting emphasis on video creation, making things cleaner, easier, and customized. Will this lead to higher quality, more professional content? That remains to be seen. But cutting down on clutter and retooling the UI to focus on channels definitely translate well to TV-viewing habits.