Newest Review: ... before Google had began owning it. In my opinion, Google is stupid for owning YouTube, YouTube was fine on it's own until they stepped ... more
Nowadays You can put anything on the Tube
Member Name: DWMayeaux
Advantages: You can download or watch just about anything you can think of
Disadvantages: There is little to stop copyright infringement or rated content
YouTube is a website built to allow users to view, upload and share video clips. It was founded by 3 former PayPal employees in February 2005 and bought by Google Inc. in November 2006 for the princely sum of $1.65 million in Google stock. The first video 'Me at the Zoo' featuring one of the founders at San Diego Zoo was uploaded in April 2005, by July 2006 65,000 new videos were loaded everyday with 100 million views. These days YouTube is the dominant provider of online video in the US with 44% of the market share (according to ComScore). It's estimated 13 hours of new video are added every minute.
The content spans a vast range of subjects and interests; you could just about get hold of anything you can think of. The exceptions, as listed in the terms and conditions, include clips containing defamation, commercial advertisements, pornography, copyright violation and material encouraging criminal conduct. You can find music videos, amateur video blogging and film shorts, home videos and remixes of old favourites. Also, partnerships with CBS and BBC mean you can get clips of television programmes and further agreements with CBS, Lions Gate Entertainment and MGM make full length movies available. In addition, there are plenty of illegal downloads of copyrighted footage as it is left to the copyright holders themselves to issue takedown notices. Any material that may cause offence is certificated and requires the user to register with YouTube as over 18, though there is no stopping a child lying on the registration form. Unfortunately, given the huge amount of material coming in, it is impossible for YouTube staff to censure clips before they are published, but they are quick to react when an illegal video is reported. This lapse of security has lead some countries including China, Iran, Morocco and Thailand banning the site altogether.
Before uploading you need to complete the simple registration process. YouTube accepts WMV, AVI, MOV, MPEG, MP4, DivX, FLV and OGG formats. It also supports 3GP allowing uploads direct from your mobile. Uploads are limited to 10 minutes in duration and 1GB. Once uploaded you can choose to set privacy settings so that only a limited number of contacts can view your clip.
The look of the site is very sparse with the focus lying on the videos themselves. There is also very minimal advertising, all of which is for Google. Along the top there is a search bar which works much the same as any search engine using key words. Popular videos are also ranked by 'featured', 'Rising videos', 'Most Discussed', 'Most Viewed' (divided into 'Today', 'this Week', 'This Month' and 'All Time'), 'Top Favourited, 'Most Popular', 'Most Responded' and 'Top Rated'.
The videos are Sorenson Spark H.263 encoded with audio in mono MP3 format. They are available in 320x240 pixels (normal quality), 480x360 pixels (high quality) and 1280x720 pixels (HD), the decision for the quality of the video lies with YouTube. The high quality videos are also available in H.164/MPEG-4 AVC format with stereo AAC audio. They can be found by adding '&fmt=18' to the web address. You cannot download to own any material, but the HTML code can be embedded on another website (such as MySpace) and in PowerPoint presentations. YouTube is now available on PCs and Macs and even some mobile phones, depending on your provider. Also, last month YouTube launched a dedicated channel allowing its videos to be viewed on the PlayStation 3 and Wii.
EXTRAS FOR REGISTERED USERS
As a registered user you can join groups called 'Channel Types'. They include the following genres: 'Comedian' (featuring mainly stand up), 'Director' (original movies), 'Guru' (experts giving advice or lessons), 'Musician' (covers, originals and lessons), 'Non-Profit' (for organisations accepted into YouTube's non-profit program), 'Reporter' (news and current affairs), 'Politician' (politicians) and 'YouTuber' (general viewer). You can also form and join separate groups, enter competitions, sign up for events and take part in discussion forums.
On the whole YouTube is a fantastic site. Whether you are looking for some quick entertainment, serious information or to get your creation to a wide audience, this is a site for everyone.
Summary: Something for everyone