YouTube unveils smart topics and Google TV Remote

YouTube plans to start helping its users differentiate between ‘funny’ and ‘stupid funny.’ Tomorrow, the Google-owned site will begin organizing its millions of videos into automatic categories called “topics” on its TestTube labs site. The new topics are constructed from a complex analysis of comments, emedding, and other viewing patterns. YouTube hopes topics will help users more effectively perform general video searches.

“People don’t know what to search for because they don’t know what’s there,” said Palash Nandy, an engineer at YouTube, at a media briefing. “We’re really creating a language of discovery.”

CNET describes the changes well. When users search for something specific like “crotch fireworks,” a number of fantastically accurate results appear, but often YouTube users come to the site to discover videos, not just search for things they already know. This is where topics will come in handy. If a user searches for “stupid videos,” YouTube will already have a directory of stupid videos that fit this category.

Topics will debut on YouTube’s test site in the next day or two. There is no word on when, or if, the feature will be integrated into the full YouTube site.

At the press briefing, the company also showed off YouTube Remote, an Android app that allows users to control YouTube on a Google TV system. It also allows a user to begin watching a video on a phone and transfer it to Google TV. The app will be available on the Android Market later today.

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