The redesigned video site displays a single news feed in the centre of the homepage featuring videos that an individual’s friends have uploaded onto sister site Google+.
There is a channel feed on the left hand side of screen encouraging users to ‘subscribe’ to their favourite YouTube channels and shows – which could mean a major boost to TV networks and individuals who have their own channels on the site.
And there are big Facebook and Google+ ‘buttons’ also in the left hand column so users can easily share and see content from the video site through to their choice of social network.
On the right hand side is a ‘Recommendations’ feed, which will suggest videos that users may like based on their current subscriptions and video-watching history.
The overall feel of the new YouTube is more like a social network, rather than a linear video site.
The Google-owned video site has been trying to make in-roads into hosting as much professional content on the site, as well as user-generated content and encouraging users to set up channels. However, in the UK, apart from a landmark deal with Channel 4 and then Channel Five, few other content owners and broadcasters, have entered into full syndication deals with the site – instead preferring to set up their own channels on the site and control the distribution of their content themselves.
Moreover, Google’s big push this year has been around cracking the social side of the web. Since launching Google+ just over 100 days ago, it has been trying to make sure of all of its web products, such as YouTube, Maps and Gmail, have a social element deeply embedded into each user experience.
YouTube’s facelift is the biggest in its six-year history.