YouTube launched its 'Leanback' interface in 2010, originally designed as an automatic playback client for when you didn't want to search and navigate through videos yourself. It later turned into a full-fledged web application for control with a remote, intended for use with smart TVs and other similar devices. Unfortunately, the Leanback web app is about to join the Google Graveyard. Read More
YouTube recently faced some controversy over its autoplay function that ultimately ended up in an FTC investigation. Google's algorithmic selection had a bad habit of leading children away from safe, joyful videos and instead would occasionally point them to violent and inappropriate content. And if that wasn't attracting enough negative attention, it turns out Google also collected personal information on minors and used it for targeted advertising without parental consent, violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Now the FTC and Google are coming to a settlement over these acts, with the company paying between $150 and $200 million as a fine. Read More
If you have an Android TV (ATV) device, be it a full TV set or a set-top box like the Nvidia Shield TV, you may have noticed one idiosyncrasy in the experience when trying to cast to it from your phone: despite the ATV having a built-in full-fledged YouTube app, casting opens the bare-bones YouTube Chromecast interface. However, there's a little known way to completely control the main app, even if you're not on the same network, with voice search and queue management.
Better yet, this method should work on all TVs that have a YouTube app, not just ATV. That includes the PS4, Xbox One X, Fire TV, and more. Read More
With recent discussions about YouTubers' mental wellbeing, Google is looking for ways to reduce pressure on its creators. Unfortunately, as it's often the case, the company's approach can be considered tone-deaf. After announcing a switch to abbreviated public subscriber counts in May, YouTube now says it's starting to roll out these changes to the public next week. Creators and consumers are equally unhappy with the decision, and stat counters like Social Blade could face an existential crisis. Read More
For any video app or service, a queue is an essential feature. The laws of the world don't apply to YouTube though, and the online streaming giant has thrived without a proper queue for years. Users got algorithm-approved videos to play next and that was it. But YouTube seems to now be aware, all of a sudden, that it should add the feature and so it's working on it. It's in temporary testing on the web and anyone can give it a try. Read More
The current YouTube app for the big screen — the same one you see on Android TV, Fire TV, other smart TVs, video game consoles, and so on — has a pretty simple interface with just four main menu items (Search, Home, Subscriptions, and Library). A makeover is on the way, however, that will see the interface expanded to include a much longer menu list, which may or may not be an improvement. Read More
Streaming music apps have been looking at ways to add value to the in-app experience for both users and artists alike. Spotify, being the biggest fish in the pond, has pulled off the most of these experiments, but upstart (in a very loosely relative sense) YouTube Music has had its innovations with video and art integrations, too. But today, it's gone to the core of its music serving experience with a new top releases playlist and some design changes in testing that could grab more plays for publlishers. Read More