The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

Category: YouTube

YouTube reports 4 billion video views -- a day

[The headline of this post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.]

People of the Internet, you love your YouTube.

On an average day, you watch 4 billion videos on YouTube. And the next day? You watch 4 billion videos on YouTube. That's a 25% increase over the number of daily video views just eight months ago, and it shows what kind of immense numbers we can see when a popular Web destination becomes even more popular.

It's kind of amazing -- and kind of frightening.

When it comes to how much video people are uploading to the site, the numbers are also mind-boggling: YouTube reports that 60 hours of video is uploaded to the site every minute, compared with 48 hours eight months ago.

What's behind this growth of activity? Reuters points out that parent company Google is pushing the video-sharing service beyond the personal computer, with versions of the site now compatible with smartphones and televisions. The company also has been making an effort to get more professional-grade content on the site.

Does all of this translate to money? Well, some of it does. But, Reuters reports, Google said only about 3 billion videos a week are monetized.


Google, Facebook, YouTube are most visited websites in 2011

Talking Twin Babies, Nyan Cat among YouTube's top videos of 2011

President Obama to answer questions in Google+ Hangout on Jan. 30

-- Deborah Netburn

[For the record, 10:39 a.m., Jan. 24: A headline on an earlier version of this story said YouTube reports 4 billion downloads a day. However, YouTube videos are not downloaded, they are streamed.]

President Obama to answer questions in Google+ Hangout on Jan. 30

President Obama is back on social media like it's 2008 -- when the Technology blog described him as "the first social media president."

The president has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Google+ -- both for his reelection bid and for official White House communications. You can even download a ringtone for your smartphone of Obama singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" from a recent New York campaign fundraiser.

The White House on Google+

Next up is the first Presidential Google+ Hangout.

Obama will take part in a hangout video chat with up to nine other Google+ users on Jan. 30.

The hangout will cap a week of White House officials' fielding questions across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ about the president's annual State of the Union speech, to be delivered Tuesday.

And while the focus of the conversation is likely to be on the State of the Union, anyone can submit a question on just about any topic to Obama this week on Google+ and YouTube, the White House and YouTube said in separate blog posts.

YouTube posted even published a video promoting the event Monday showing scenes of tea party, Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring protests, coverage of the death of Osama Bin Laden and the end of the Iraq War, as well as a brief voiceover from a gay Air Force lieutenant.

"If you could hang out with President Obama, what would you ask him? Would your question be about jobs or unemployment? The threat of nuclear weapons? Immigration reform? Whatever your question is, submit it on YouTube for the opportunity to ask the president directly in a special interview over a Google+ Hangout from the White House," YouTube said.

Of course, Obama won't answer all the questions submitted through the White House YouTube channel, but he will answer "several of the most popular questions" the White House said, and a small number of those who submit questions will be invited to join the president in the video chat.


Obama 2012 campaign heads to Tumblr

White House joins Google+ ahead of State of the Union speech

Obama 2012 campaign joins Instagram on eve of Iowa caucuses

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Image: Screen shot of the White House on Google+. Credit: Google

Google, Facebook, YouTube are most visited websites in 2011

Google, Facebook and YouTube racked up the most unique visitors among U.S. websites in 2011, according to new data from the research group Nielsen.

Not necessarily the most surprising news is it? What may be a bit more interesting is that, despite its rapid growth, Google+ was on average visited by fewer users than Myspace this year, according to Nielsen. Google+ was released in beta in July and opened to the public in September.

The Nielsen data also doesn't cover the entire year, only January to October.

According to Nielsen, the top 10 U.S. social networks and blogs, by page views, in 2011 were:

1. Facebook -- 137.6 million average page views per month

2. Blogger -- 45.5 million average page views per month

3. -- 23.6 million average page views per month

4. -- 20.4 million average page views per month

5. -- 17.9 million average page views per month

6. LinkedIn -- 17 million average page views per month

7. Tumblr -- 10.9 million average page views per month

8. Google+ -- 8.2 million average page views per month

9. Yahoo! Pulse -- 8 million average page views per month

10. Six Apart/TypePad -- 7 million average page views per month

Nielsen also reported that the 10 most visited overall U.S. Web brands in 2011 were:

1. Google -- 153.4 million average page views per month

2. Facebook -- 137.6 million average page views per month

3. Yahoo! -- 130.1 million average page views per month

4. MSN/WindowsLive/Bing -- 115.9 million average page views per month

5. YouTube -- 106.7 million average page views per month

6. Microsoft -- 83.8 million average page views per month

7. AOL Media Network -- 74.6 million average page views per month

8. Wikipedia -- 62 million average page views per month

9. Apple -- 61.6 million average page views per month

10. Ask Search Network -- 60.5 million average page views per month

 And finally, the top 10 U.S. Web brands for video, according to Nielsen's data:

1. YouTube -- 111.1 million average page views per month

2. Vevo -- 34.6 million average page views per month

3. Facebook -- 29.8 million average page views per month

4. Yahoo! -- 25.3 million average page views per month

5. MSN/WindowsLive/Bing -- 16.6 million average page views per month

6. AOL Media Network -- 13.3 million average page views per month

7. Hulu -- 13.1 million average page views per month

8. The CollegeHumor Network -- 12.5 million average page views per month

9. CNN Digital Network -- 8.3 million average page views per month

10. Netflix -- 7.4 million average page views per month


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Image: A screen shot of Credit: Google

Bratty tweets about Christmas gifts disturb parents


It's not easy being a kid today. Everywhere you turn it seems like adults are out to make you look like a spoiled, entitled brat.

The most recent example is comedian Jon Hendren's list of real tweets from kids who were angry that they didn't get an iPhone, or iPad, or a car for Christmas. Hendren assembled the tweets on Christmas Day and published them on his own Twitter feed.

Here is a G-rated sampling:

"No Iphone. I hate my dad."

"Just cried for like 2 hrs straight cause i didn't get a car." 

"Seems like I'm the only one who didn't get an Iphone for christmas."

"If you got an iphone i hate you."


Hendren's list of bratty re-tweets quickly made its way around the Internet, showing up in blogs and other Twitter feeds where adults expressed dismay at the entitlement of the youth today.

"This guy @fart  is retweeting all the spoiled brats that didn't get what they wanted. The entitled dregs of society. Nice work, parents." Jason Clarke tweeted.

"Twitter reveals the worst Christmas gift getters ever," Leslie Horn of PC Mag wrote.

The list even became the inspiration for a song by the singer Jonathan Mann. A YouTube video of the song featuring profanity-filled tweets went up Tuesday and got more than 117,000 views in less than 24 hours.

We agree that the tweets are super obnoxious, but we can't help but wonder whether kids today actually feel more entitled than ever before, or is it that thanks to sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, adults are just aware of how entitled kids have always been, and more likely to exploit that entitlement, which could just be called "childhood" and "adolescence."

Consider the popular YouTube challenges that late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel occasionally issues to parents to essentially prank their kids and record their reactions.

Kimmel's Christmas challenge -- in which he asked parents to give their kids terrible Christmas presents and then keep the camera rolling while the kids cry or patiently explain that they didn't want an onion for a present -- has had 14.25 million views on YouTube.

Kimmel's Halloween challenge, in which he asked parents to pretend to have eaten all their kid's Halloween candy, has been viewed a whopping 25.8 million times.

Yeah, it's funny ha-ha, but it's also kind of mean.


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-- Deborah Netburn

 Video: Jimmy Kimmel's YouTube challenge: I gave my kid a terrible present. Credit: YouTube.

Talking Twin Babies, Nyan Cat among YouTube's top videos of 2011



Citizens of the Internet: We salute you. Your taste in YouTube videos is, for the most part, awesome.

On Tuesday, YouTube published its annual list of its most watched videos. If you haven't watched them yet, we suggest you carve out 20 minutes of your day today to see the videos the world Facebooked, tweeted, emailed and watched with co-workers this year.

It's a pretty big spread, from a talking dog listening jealously to stories of the meat his owner just ate, to a Volkswagen commercial starring a little Darth Vader, to two kids covering a song by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes.

A few other highlights:

56 million people watched in wonderment as two twin babies stood in front of refrigerator door and appeared to have a full-on, hilarious conversation, while using only the words "da da da da da da da da da." (This is a must see!)

The comedy troupe Lonely Island makes two appearances on the top 10 list. As of this writing, 60.5 million people have watched Michael Bolton sing about "Pirates of the Caribbean" and 48.5 million have watched the boys rap about being creepy with the help of Nicki Minaj.

In the weirdest category, 54 million people watched an animal with a cat's head and a pink pop tart body fly through space leaving a rainbow trail in its wake to the tune of a synthesized Japanese pop song that sounds a lot like the singer is saying "meow" over and over. (So weirdly addictive).

Rebecca Black's so bad it's good video for her song "Friday" was the most watched video of the year, according to YouTube's calculations. And in honor of her win, she hosted the video YouTube made of the year's most popular videos.

Here is the complete list via the YouTube blog:

1. Rebecca Black - Friday (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

2. Ultimate Dog Tease

3. Jack Sparrow (feat. Michael Bolton)

4. Talking Twin Babies - PART 2 - OFFICIAL VIDEO

5. Nyan Cat [original]

6. Look At Me Now - Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes (Cover by @KarminMusic)

7. The Creep (feat. Nicki Minaj & John Waters)

8. Maria Aragon - Born This Way (Cover) by Lady Gaga

9. The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

10. Cat mom hugs baby kitten

We can hardly wait for next year!


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-- Deborah Netburn

Video: Talking Twin Babies - Part 2 - OFFICIAL VIDEO. Credit: YouTube



A Slayer Christmas? Metalheads rejoice!


Just when you thought the Christmas Light show videos on YouTube couldn't "wow" you anymore, along comes this gem from a geeked-out metalhead set to Slayer's "South of Heaven."

The video was made by a guy we only know as lacycute20. (The YouTube channel used belong to the metalhead's daughter, but she handed it over to Dad to showcase his metal light shows.) He's also done light shows to songs by Pantera and Machinehead and some other Slayer songs. But it's the "South of Heaven" show that is currently gaining traction on YouTube, racking up more than 715,000 page views in less than three weeks.

It's not just the unexpected music choice that sets lacycute20's light shows apart -- it's also the visuals. He's got a sinister-looking singing snowman, shooting stars, floodlights and two neon hands throwing the sign of the devil flanking the front door of his house.

Even if the metal holiday light show isn't your thing, you've got to respect the dedication of all these guys who create elaborate home light shows and put their videos up on YouTube. Earlier this year the guy behind an extravagant Halloween light show that went viral on YouTube said it takes him 15 hours to program one minute of music.

That's dedication to the holidays, man.


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Amazon's latest holiday offer: Free 1-day shipping starting Saturday

-- Deborah Netburn 

Viewers now streaming nearly 5 hours of online video per month

The early days of short, fuzzy, one-off online videos are vanishing into the not-too-distant past. 

YouTube's original 2005-era tiny square video player, which did its level best to bring us thousands of short, low-resolution clips of cats skateboarding and babies talking, or vice versa, is now but a hazy memory. That wild and lawless period of online video has been paved over and lit up by ever larger online movie players, capable of plasma-TV-caliber resolution -- and with all limits on movie length removed.

(See the above clip of a cat skateboarding in high definition.)

Forget those 30-second clips of old. The average online video viewer is now watching 4 hours 38 minutes of video every month, according to the latest numbers from Nielsen, doubling the amount of online video people watched in 2008.

The proliferation of services like Netflix, Apple TV and Hulu Plus are letting more people watch entire movies and long TV episodes over the Internet, either from their PCs, TVs or tablets -- and YouTube itself is betting big on premium programming.

The one wrinkle:  Nielsen found that the total number of online viewers in the U.S. -- about 150 million as of August -- was growing at half the speed of the amount of video being watched.  Meaning people who are watching online video are watching a lot more than they used to -- but there are still plenty of people who aren't watching it at all: about half of the U.S. population.

Still, thinking back to the 2005 YouTube, the idea that half the nation would be watching hours of high- definition online video every month would've been sillier than a cat playing poker.


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-- David Sarno

Google+ gets new YouTube and Chrome integration

YouTube slider in Google+

On Thursday Google delivered new Google+ integration for YouTube and the Chrome Web browser.

Vic Gundotra, the executive leading the Google+ efforts, said in a blog post that the new features were the tech giant's latest example of "shipping the Google in Google+."

So, what does that all mean exactly? For one, a YouTube slider tab has been added to the right-hand side of Google+ -- just below the black navigation bar along the top of every page.

When you scroll your mouse over the YouTube tab, a search bar pops out asking "What would you like to play?" Entering any text will return YouTube video results, which pop up in a new window. "And if you move the pop-up elsewhere, you can still navigate your playlist from the slider," Gundotra noted.

The feature is pretty slick (as long as you don't mind pop-up windows) and enables users to find, watch and +1 anything they see without leaving Google+ itself.

"Sharing YouTube videos with your circles also works (of course), but there's a nice little twist: The people you share with can open a related playlist directly from your post," Gundotra said in his post. "Last but not least, we're starting to include YouTube playlists in Google+ search results."

These are the latest of what probably will be many more YouTube plus Google+ features.

The first step came in August, when Google released a feature that allows Google+ users to launch Hangouts (group video chats) directly from YouTube's website.

Google+ Chrome extensionsChrome, another widely successful Google product, released two new browser extensions for Google+ as well.

One of the new extensions adds a +1 button beside the URL bar in Chrome. With this extension installed, a click of the button shares that website to a user's Google+ profile.

The other extension adds a Google+ notifications box to show up next to Chrome's URL bar -- enabling users to be alerted of Google+ activity when they're logged into Google+ but not actually visiting a Google+ page.

Google also added the two extensions to its Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer as new features.


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Google's Ron Gorodetzky: Making YouTube more social

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Images: (Top) The YouTube slider in Google+ and (bottom) Chrome's Google+ extensions. Credit: Google

Google's Ron Gorodetzky: Making YouTube more social

Ron Gorodetzky of YouTube/Google

Ron Gorodetzky didn't aspire to work at Google, or any other tech giant for that matter.

Gorodetzky was a start-up man -- having worked at the news-sharing site Digg in its early days before going on to be a co-founder of the video site Revision3 and Fflick, a company that analyzed what people were saying about movies on Twitter to build a movie recommendation site.

Google may not have been on Gorodetzky's radar -- but he and Fflick were on Google's.

Just six months after Gorodetzky and three friends from Digg founded Fflick, the start-up sold itself to YouTube, which is owned by Google.

Now Gorodetzky is on a team of engineers (along with his three buddies from Fflick) helping to integrate YouTube into the ever expanding and crucially important Google+.

"Until working at Google I had only worked at start-ups and I never really wanted to work for a big company," he said. "But Google is a big company that is good at being a big company."

Google+ is the company's bid to take Google's top existing products and make them more social, easier to share and easier to consume. The effort has also brought an end to a number of products that haven't fit in with the company's new vision.

YouTube is one of Google's top products. What will a Google+ friendly YouTube look like? Gorodetzky wouldn't go into detail. But we have seen an early step in that integration with the recent launch of Hangouts (group video chats) which can be started directly from YouTube.

"What we're doing is taking our expertise with social networking and applying it to YouTube," Gorodetzky said. "There's a little bit of ramp-up when you get into Google. There's a decade worth of technology at YouTube that you have to ramp up to. But we've been prototyping ideas and were starting to apply our technology to YouTube."

What exactly is that technology?

Continue reading »

Google's Android Ice Cream Sandwich gets a lawn statue

Android Ice Cream Sandwich statue outside Google HQ

Google is slated to unveil Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of its mobile operating system, Tuesday night in Hong Kong alongside a new Samsung device.

And in keeping with Google tradition, the company celebrated the pending release of Ice Cream Sandwich by adding a new oversized lawn sculpture to its Mountain View headquarters late last week.

The new statue fits the new OS's name spot-on -- it's a gigantic Android mascot waving one arm sculpted to look like he's made of slabs of chocolate cookie with vanilla ice cream in the middle.

Google's Android developers posted a video to YouTube, which can be seen below, of the latest sculpture's installation.

The last Android sculpture to be added to the lawn in front of Building 44 at the Googleplex honored Honeycomb, Google's first tablet-specific OS, released in March.

In case you're wondering about all the goofy/tasty monikers for Android's releases, Google nicknames its mobile software in alphabetical order. In order, the previous releases have been Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb.

With a new name comes a new statue and Google's lawn increasingly looks a bit like a bit like something dreamed up by Willy Wonka or Homer Simpson.

The anticipation for Ice Cream Sandwich has been building for months as it has been promised to be the first release of Android that will unify the operating systems shipped on phones and tablets -- something Apple's iOS has always done but a new approach for Google.

We'll finally get a look at Ice Cream Sandwich on Tuesday night via live streaming on YouTube from Hong Kong. Stay tuned to the Technology blog for the latest. 


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Image: Google employees place a sculpture celebrating the upcoming release of Android Ice Cream Sandwich at the tech giant's Mountain View headquarters. Credit: Google via YouTube


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