While YouTube is itself the largest video site on the web, its embedding features and social environment have made it an especially valuable resource for bloggers. YouTube is honoring that loyalty with the addition of three new features that give bloggers a boost: a logoless player, HD preview images, and a new segment of the site known as "As Seen On."
You know that YouTube logo at the bottom-right of any embedded video? Beyond being a branding effort for the Google-owned company, the YouTube logo can look less than ideal, especially on more professional outlets. But those embedding the code can now remove that logo with ease.
All you have to do is add this line of code, without the quotation marks, at the end of the video URL: "?modestbranding=1". Note that the small text that says "YouTube" will still appear on the video title bar when the video is paused, but that's the only nod you have to give to the video site.
Professional sites and top-notch bloggers get the most benefit out of this feature, since they can now use the YouTube player without it looking like they're a cheap bunch of old misers going for the freest of the free video services around.
Sadly, YouTube has also had a reputation for having low-quality videos, which furthers this concern. With the combination of HD videos and a logoless player, those embedding videos can create a more professional video playback experience.
HD Preview Images
As users have continued uploading high-resolution video content, they've continued to fight against the negative pre-conception on what the video will look like on playback. One big factor impacts the user's expectation more than others: the preview image.
The preview image is the picture displayed on embedded videos before the user pushes play. Previously, no matter how HD the video was when you uploaded it, users only saw the preview image from the easy-streaming, low-quality version.
Well, no more! Anyone who uploads a video with 480p or higher resolution will have an HD image displayed for their preview. Users who already have HD videos embedded should also see an update in the coming weeks as Google gradually rolls out the HD preview images to the entire collection of HD videos.
"As Seen On" Pages
You know how people like embedding tons of videos on their blog or site? Well, now you can look through the collection of videos that have been embedded on your favorite sites and blogs. Google is constructing pages, known as "As Seen On" pages, that compile a playlist out of the content that's been posted to a given site over time.
Google is currently creating those pages for sites based on data collected from RSS sites. Sadly, there's no word on when or how webmasters can create their own page.
It's expected that these pages will work collaboratively with the previous "As Seen On" feature; Google has, since April, experimentally been adding an emblem that reads "As Seen On Sitename," with a link to your blog or site, when you refer a large amount of traffic to an individual piece of content.
Now the link provided here is likely to send people to your internal "As Seen On" page, although that change hasn't been made yet, nor has the experimental tag been made permanent. Regardless of how it's handled, however, Google is helping to promote the blogs and sites that promote YouTube's content, giving content writers a well-deserved scratch on the back.
These features certainly seem to be oriented toward content providers, especially bloggers, but YouTube also gains a stronger social infrastructure in the process. For any blogger or webmaster who frequently embeds video, each of the new features are boons that rival those found in archetypal hero's tales.