Monday, 30 November 2009

A Live Stream to Save Lives: Alicia Keys and YouTube Team Up to Fight AIDS

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 hers, 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)/4 a.m (GMT) 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."

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Innovation In Accessibility

Creating captions for your videos on YouTube has become much easier thanks to the introduction of automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology.

Upload a transcript (a simple file with the text of what's said in the video), and through speech recognition technology we'll turn it into synchronised captions. Timing is the toughest part of creating captions, but now this should be much easier. The technology works best for videos with good sound quality and clear spoken English.

Auto-Captions: We use the same speech recognition technology to create machine-generated captions (which can then be translated into 51 languages). You can see auto-caps in action right now on a range of educational channels, such as UC Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Yale, UCLA, Duke, UCTV, Columbia, PBS, National Geographic, Demand Media, UNSW and most Google channels, including YouTube's. Click on the menu button at the bottom right of the video player, then click CC and the arrow to its left, then click the new "Transcribe Audio" button. In time, we hope to expand this feature for many more YouTube videos.

Auto-caps is a continued step towards YouTube's goal of making video accessible everywhere (web, mobile, TV) and to everyone (other countries, languages, alternative access modes). It's also an example of using technology to enhance the video experience. For more details, please check this post on the Google Blog.

To learn more about how to use auto-caps and auto-timing, check out our help centre article and this short video:

Hiroto Tokusei, Senior Product Manager, recently watched "
(HD) 夜のゆりかもめ(新橋→豊洲) 01."

Thursday, 19 November 2009

YouTube UK: The Shows Go On

Today YouTube UK launches a new area of the site: Shows. This addition is one of many efforts underway to ensure that the YouTube community has access to as broad a range of video as possible, from vlogs to citizen journalism to major label music videos to full-length offerings from TV.

YouTube users in the UK will be able to click on the Shows tab on the homepage, or go directly to, to discover the programmes currently made available by YouTube's partners. The full-length programming available today includes the first set of content made available from Channel 4 under the recently announced partnership between the broadcaster and YouTube. Think of this as an early stage of the partnership: the full range of Channel 4 content will be available early next year.

Other partners who have made their videos available in Shows include BBC Worldwide, Turner Broadcasting, ITN, Guinness World Records, Classic Media, Fremantle, North One and Al Jazeera. However, rather than list the shows available here we suggest you head for the Shows page and have a look around. Over the coming days we will also be Spotlighting some of the new programmes that you will find – starting today with episodes of "The IT Crowd", "Father Ted", "The Inbetweeners" and "Peep Show".

As ever, once you've got a handle on what this new area of the UK site has to offer, feel free to furnish us with your feedback below.

Have fun,

Jamie Dolling, Community Editor, YouTube UK, recently watched "Streetmate".

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

How We Think About Social

Social features like commenting, rating, video responses and even just emailing or IMing a video's link have always been a part of the YouTube experience. So that's why we spend a lot of time here thinking about how to make the site an even more social place. We're especially focused on wanting to make it as easy as possible for you to find the people you know on YouTube and to follow their activity (what videos are they rating? favouriting? commenting on?) by subscribing to their channel; it's a great way to stay up on what they're into as well as discover new content yourself. As you consume these videos and start sharing your own, you in turn "feed" your friends a tasty helping of video goodness. It breaks into this virtuous distribution cycle:

As we've built these tools directly into YouTube itself, with things like friend suggestions based on your Gmail address book and connecting your YouTube account to social networks via our AutoShare feature, we've started to see people becoming even more social. Some of this activity is hard to quantify -- every day millions of YouTube links are sent via email, IM, Twitter and other communication methods -- but we can tell you that:
  • Over one million people are AutoSharing videos to Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader
  • Each AutoShared Tweet you send out from YouTube turns into an average of seven new sessions on
  • Over a million people have found and subscribed to at least one friend on YouTube based on our Friend Suggest feature
  • Most Tweeted video yesterday? Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"
  • More than one million new subscriptions are created every day
We hope these numbers will only rise as we focus on giving you the tools you need to connect with the people who matter most to you. In the process, expect to be entertained and informed by the videos circulating amongst your most trusted friends, subscribers and networks. You can get started today by ensuring that you're discoverable on YouTube (click here and check off "Let others find my channel on YouTube if they have my email address") and by connecting your account to your external networks via AutoShare (click here to set that up).

What do you think "social" on YouTube means, and where would you like to see it go? Leave a comment below.

Brian Glick, Product Manager, recently watched "Michael Jackson - Beat It," and James Phillips, Software Engineer, recently watched "New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less."

Sunday, 15 November 2009

YouTube Supports Anti-Bullying Week 2009

In support of the UK's Anti-Bullying Week, YouTube has signed up to become an official training partner for leading children’s charity Beatbullying on its peer mentoring site So as well as featuring videos today on our homepage that give advice on dealing with cyberbullying and staying safe on YouTube, we're also hosting a special CyberMentors training session for the YouTube UK community at Google London this Saturday. Here is a video showing what happened last year:

CyberMentors are young people who have been trained to become online peer mentors, providing advice and support to other young people who are being bullied both off and online. If you want to get involved, and are aged between 13 and 25, take a look at this video to find out more, and email to sign up for a place.

And don't forget - if you encounter bullying on YouTube, or know someone who has, go straight to our Help and Safety Tool to take action.

Oliver Rickman, Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, recently watched "Radio Protest".

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Guinness World Records Day on YouTube

Every year Guinness World Records marks 12 months of record breaking with a day dedicated to all things extreme, encouraging mere mortals to join the likes of the world’s tallest man, Sultan Kosen, in the book’s pages – which in itself holds the record for biggest-selling copyright publication.

As a result, not only can you see some examples of World Records on the YouTube homepage, but Guinness World Records has arranged a number of mass World Record attempts around the globe that you are encouraged to join:

“The whole point of today is that anyone around the world can attempt to break a Guiness World Record,” explains Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief of the Guinness World Records book. “Myself, I’ve been trying to rustle up some participants for a mass hug in St Pancras International, and we’ll hopefully lasso some early commuters today to take part. Sadly I can’t join in – the adjudicators and I must remain independent and impartial. So fingers crossed we get enough people.”

If you aren’t in the London, record attempts are planned from Sydney to Memphis, Helsinki to New York. You can find out more at

“It’s free to set or break a Guinness World Record,” continues Craig, “so why not be inspired and try to get your name in the next edition of the book? Check out the videos on our YouTube channel and have a flick through the new 2010 book for ideas.”

Here’s hoping you enjoy today’s Spotlight. You never know: you too could become a Record Breaker in 2010.

Have fun,

Jamie Dolling, Community Editor, YouTube UK, recently watched “Chilli Challenge”.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Music Tuesday: YouTube Jazz With Jamie Cullum

He is the biggest selling British jazz artist of all time, Clint Eastwood personally invited him to play at Monterey (which you have to say is pretty cool) and today Jamie Cullum takes control of Music Tuesday, sharing some of his favourite YouTube videos and showcasing tracks from his new album, “The Pursuit”.

“Who doesn’t love YouTube?” asks Jamie. “I love YouTube. There are some amazing clips of some of the old jazz musicians – loads of footage of these guys playing that I have never seen. It’s basically a treasure trove for a music geek like me.”

Herbie Hancock showing the kids of "Sesame Street" the wonders of synthesiser technology and a closer look at how Miles Davis constructed landmark album “Kind Of Blue” are two of the treats that Jamie has unearthed and featured alongside a behind the scenes look at the shoot of “I’m All Over It” and his great cover of Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music”.

Some great selections from a self-confessed 'geek', and with that we'd like to thank Jamie Cullum for his time and research. Herbie Hancock on "Sesame Street" sampling "Fresh Prince Of Bel Air" actress Tatyana Ali's youthful voice and turning it into a tune? Only on YouTube, people... only on YouTube.

Have fun,

Jamie Dolling, Community Editor, YouTube UK, recently watched “DJ Hero Review”.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Break A Record With Guinness World Records On Guinness World Records Day!

Inspired by Juan Mann's Free Hugs video Guinness World Records is looking to establish a new world record for the Most Couples Hugging in One Minute and are calling on YouTube users to help them succeed.

So if you fancy helping share the love and make it into the Guinness World Records Book in the process, be at St Pancras International Station early on November 12, which – as it happens – is also Guinness World Records Day 2009. In the spirit of research, Guinness World Records Editor-In-Chief, Craig Glenday, headed down to the home of the Eurostar in London to test the waters with nothing more than a Free Hugs sign for protection.

"I really wasn't expecting many people to take me up on the offer, given how
miserable most early morning commuters seem to be," said Craig. "But after
about 10 minutes of no reactions whatsoever, I got my first hug - a group
hug, in fact, by a gang of lovely old ladies! Then the flood gates opened,
and dozens came forward for a cuddle."

Alongside the Most Couples Hugging attempt, November 12 will see a mass cheerleading event in the US, an attempt to bake a giant gingerbread man in Norway, a biggest bikini parade bid in Australia, concrete block chopping in Mexico, pickled egg eating in Scotland and a bus-pulling with the hair attempt in England.

"The idea of the day is to spread the word and the joy of record-breaking around the world," explains Craig, "and get as many people as possible setting or breaking records in a single day. It's costs nothing to have your record ratified by GWR, and it's open to anyone in the world. It's a great way to raise money for charity, too - we help raise millions of pounds every year."

Keep your eyes on the Guinness World Records channel for updates on their plans, and remember: if you want to be a record breaker, head down to St Pancras International on November 12.

Have fun,

Jamie Dolling, Community Editor, YouTube UK, recently watched “Various Jobs I Could Get”.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Can You Beat Michael Phelps? Do You Have The Edge On Dame Kelly Holmes?

Face facts: in a swimming race against 14-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps, you'd have no chance whatsoever...but you may be able to beat him in speed putting! If you can make more than 12 five-foot putts in a minute, you'll have bragging rights forever:

This is "The Best of Us Challenge," presented by the International Olympic Committee, where Olympic athletes challenge the YouTube community to compete in some truly unique events. For example, you can challenge American Olympic gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson by tapping-your-ears-while-doing-a-handstand. (FYI: she did it 54 times in 30 seconds.) Or take on one of the world's fastest men, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell, who balanced a stick on his foot for two minutes and 30 seconds. Six-time Grand Slam winner and Olympic gold medalist Rafael Nadal picked up 24 tennis balls in 30 seconds (making great use of his groin area) — how many can you get?

If you've got the moxie to best these world class athletes, check out the The Best of Us Challenge channel on YouTube to learn how to submit your video. Prizes include a trip for two to the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in February 2010 and a trip for two to the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August 2010, as well as T-shirts, video games and posters. Submissions end on Sunday, November 15, so whatever your skill is — putting, hand-standing, hula-hooping, etc. — get out there and show the world your best.

Andrew Bangs, YouTube Sports, recently watched "Tiger Woods Golf Swing in Slow Motion"