One of YouTube's new experimental interfaces is receiving a lot of attention from both the YouTube audience and Google itself. The new look and layout, titled "Cosmic Panda," radically re-structures the YouTube interface.
YouTube's Cleaned-Up Look and Feel
Cosmic Panda integrates several of the features we've seen in smaller scale experiments on YouTube in the past, including the beautiful black YouTube player. The player page brings the core video to the front and center, with suggested videos, playlist items, and other visual elements falling beneath. Channel pages have also been updated for easier navigation and more focus on the channel's actual media.
Google's Cosmic Panda page also indicates numerous back-end changes, such as "more page designs and better editing tools to customize your channel" and the ability to "keep watching when moving between videos, playlists, and channels" when you're using Google Chrome.
This new design for YouTube also creates better thematic unity with other updated Google services. The black/gray/red color scheme matches nicely with the Google toolbar, and the cleaner look reflects the general design values present in Google+ and the upcoming versions of Gmail.
Want to Check Out the Interface for Yourself?
Just go to http://www.youtube.com/cosmicpanda to opt into the experiment.
You can use this same page to remove yourself from the experimental version at any point. Once you're part of the experiment, you can leave feedback by pushing the blue "Feedback" flag on the left of each YouTube page.
This experiment is broader in scale than any other in YouTube's recent history, and Google seems dedicated to making sure it works. "We'll be making changes to the experiment regularly," stated the YouTube blog entry officially announcing Cosmic Panda, which likely means both that the new version won't be released in the immediate future and that it almost certainly will be the default eventually.
This brings me to my last and most important question on the subject.. What, exactly, is up with Google's fixation on Pandas?