This month has been a busy one on the YouTube front. Besides new counter extremism features, WhatsApp updates and a new merger, there are also news on the general user experience.
Let’s get right to it:
Just last week, Google rolled out a new experiment in digital counter terrorism. Together with their in-house think tank, Jigsaw, new efforts to bury ISIS-related propaganda on YouTube have started.
When potential ISIS recruits now search for known extremist content, they will be redirected to videos that confront the terrorist group and their beliefs. The project, called the Redirect Method, uses a predefined set of keywords to determine if users are redirected.
According to the website; ‘ The Redirect Method uses Adwords targeting tools and curated YouTube videos uploaded by people all around the world to confront online radicalization. It focuses on the slice of ISIS’ audience that is most susceptible to its messaging, and redirects them towards curated YouTube videos debunking ISIS recruiting themes. This open methodology was developed from interviews with ISIS defectors, respects users’ privacy and can be deployed to tackle other types of violent recruiting discourses online.’
So, how will YouTube know if redirecting is successful? The company says it will analyse how much counter content is engaged with and measure success based on that. YouTube initially started out with an 8-week pilot which led to over 300k individuals viewing over half a million minutes of the 116 selected videos to combat the extremist group’s recruitment themes.
As we all know, the Google owned platform is great at collaboration and in this case, is working alongside non-governmental organizations to create additional content to reach different target groups and create content that is varied enough to have an impact across the globe.
The effort will expand into different languages and machine learning will be used to effectively update the list of trigger words.
Yesterday, YouTube announced that they are getting rid of its video editor and photo slideshows due to lack of use. The changes won’t be implemented until September 20th, so everyone relying on YouTube to edit their videos will have enough time to browse around for other options.
According to YouTube, creators didn’t tend to use the video editor, opting to use more popular choices like Final Cut or Adobe Premiere instead. Not every single editing tool will be removed though, enhancements like blur, filters and trim will still be available through the Video Manager section of your channel.
WhatsApp is working on a fantastic new feature that will allow you to view YouTube videos properly in your chats.
Currently, when someone sends you a video link and you click on it, it will open the YouTube app and cover your whole screen, making it impossible to read or send messages while watching. Instead of simultaneously functioning, you always have to switch between WhatsApp and the app or your Internet browser.
A future WhatsApp update, however, will make how things work a lot more pleasant. According to WABetaInfo, the feature was already within the latest update but will be hidden until the software is perfected. Once released, you’ll be able to view videos picture-in-picture mode!
A full-screen mode will still be available if you so wish, as well as letting you drag the screen in order to view messages without actually stopping or pausing the video. We are surely excited and see a lot of new opportunities for creators and brands to reach out even further to their fans, making content even easier to share.
Have you noticed a change on YouTube when using your desktop recently? Have you accidentally hovered over a video thumbnail and it suddenly started to move? YouTube GIF thumbnails are now available for a larger number of creators.
Initially launched in February, the feature was only available for a small number of users for a trial run. Now YouTube has branched out and made it available for most users.
The functionality itself is pretty self-explanatory. Just hover over the thumbnail of a YouTube video and a short, three second GIF will play (without any sound). This will give you a first impression of what the video is all about. The clip shown is automatically generated from the first half of the video, making it quite the effortless thumbnail upgrade. The only downside, for now, creators won’t be able to pick or change the preview shown to the audience.
Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s head of music confirmed that the company is planning on merging its Google Play Music service with YouTube Red to create a new streaming offering. The services are said to merge in order to bring in new subscribers and help educate consumers.
Google published a statement saying it will notify users of any changes before they happen: ‘Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.’
What are your thoughts on GIF thumbnails, combating extremism and the other developments this month? Leave a comment and let us know!
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