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Every Christmas Eve, children all over the world ask themselves—and their parents—questions about Santa’s magical journey. How does Santa visit so many children in one night? Will he eat the cookies I left out? How does he fit all those presents into his sleigh? These childhood mysteries are part of what makes the Santa tradition so special.

There’s one timeless question that we’re proud to say we can help answer: Where in the world is Santa at this very moment? Thanks in part to recent advances in warp-speed GPS technology and some very clever elves (elveneering?) NORAD Tracks Santa is once again prepped and ready to go.

Starting tomorrow, December 24 at 2:00 a.m. EST, visit www.noradsanta.org to follow Santa as he journeys around the world delivering presents to children in more than 200 countries and territories. There are a few different ways to find the jolly man in his unmistakable red suit over the course of the day, so feel free to track him using any of the following methods:
  • Subscribe to his YouTube channel: Santa’s home on YouTube is at http://www.youtube.com/noradtrackssanta. That’s where you can find videos from his journey throughout the night. This “Commander's Holiday Message” offers a peek of what to expect:

  • See Santa on a Google Map: On your home computer or laptop, visit www.noradsanta.org and choose your preferred language. You’ll see a large Google Map on the page displaying Santa’s current location and his next stop. Click the video icons to watch “Santa Cam” videos, and click the gift icons to learn more about each city.
  • Follow Santa on your phone: Track Santa from your mobile phone by opening Google Maps for mobile and searching for [santa]. Or, visit m.noradsanta.org on your phone’s browser.

Get real-time information about Santa’s location: Use Google’s Realtime Search to get updates from social networks, news and micro-blogs like Twitter at @noradsanta, and keep up with news about his journey on this Facebook page.

For any techie questions you might have, we’ve also put together some helpful tips and tricks about all the cool ways you can experience Santa’s journey. And now that you know how to follow Saint Nick on Christmas Eve, it’s our tradition to tell the story of how this all started...

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) first began to track Santa in 1955 when a misprinted advertisement in a Sears & Roebuck catalogue mistakenly led callers expecting a Santa-hotline to the NORAD commander-in-chief's telephone. Embracing the spirit of the season, NORAD used its satellite and radar capabilities to offer callers sleigh-location updates, and has tracked Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve ever since. Then in 2004, Google started tracking Santa on Google Earth as a 20% project, which in 2007 grew into a partnership with NORAD, adding the mapping technology of Google Maps and Google Earth to the NORAD experience. Over the years, other Google teams have also joined in the holiday fun (YouTube, Google Voice’s www.SendACallFromSanta.com and Google SketchUp).

As we approach this year’s Christmas Eve adventure, Santa was able to take a break from the preparations to visit the New York Stock Exchange this past Monday. His helpful elves kept everything at the North Pole on schedule while folks from Google and NORAD attended the Closing Bell ceremony, and stood alongside Santa from Macy’s going over last minute details about tomorrow’s big ride:
Santa with NORAD, Google and members of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation 
that’s me, the tall guy in the back row clapping)

So don’t forget to visit www.noradsanta.org tomorrow morning starting at 2:00 a.m. EST when Santa embarks on his flight. From all of us here at Google and YouTube, happy holidays and here’s to a very happy New Year!

Brian McClendon, Original Google Engineering Elf, recently watched “Picasa 3.8 Face Movie.”

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As 2010 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on another incredible year in online video. During the last 12 months you all watched more than 700 billion YouTube videos, and uploaded more than 13 million hours of content to the site. We met a bunch of new faces (and fruits) and celebrated as new YouTube partners hit the big time with millions of views. Indeed, our partner program grew to around 15,000 participants worldwide.

We’re privileged to work with the most passionate and talented partners in the world, who produce and upload videos that inspire us, make us laugh and move us -- and, most importantly, change the way we look at the world. In bedrooms, garages and studios across the globe, these talented and entrepreneurial YouTube partners are building the next generation of media companies, and in July this year we announced a new way we’d be supporting this via Partner Grants.

It’s clear that we want to see YouTube partners continue to create great video and further push the boundaries of what’s possible online. To that end, today we’re giving a $1,000 credit at B&H Photo to 500 partners around the world, who primarily create and distribute their content online, to purchase new video production equipment. This group includes well-known YouTube stars like ShayCarl, MysteryGuitarMan and FreddieW (and this past weekend we learned the latter two make quite a guitar-bass duo), and also successful musicians like Kina Grannis and promising new talents like EmilyNoel83, who was the inaugural winner of our “On The Rise” program last month. Collectively, these 500 partners generated billions of video views in 2010, and we chose them to receive a $1,000 credit based on their popularity during 2010, as well as their online focus.

We hope this will provide our most popular partners with the tools they need -- whether it be a new camera, sound & lighting equipment or editing software -- to produce even higher quality videos and ultimately drive bigger audiences to their work. Hundreds of creative people all around the world have launched professional careers after using YouTube as a global platform to demonstrate their talent - we want to see this number continue to grow.

On behalf of the entire YouTube community, we thank these partners for sharing their creativity and talent with us, and we look forward to what’s to come in 2011 and beyond.

Tom Pickett, Director of Content Operations & Online Creators, recently watched “P4A: The Annoying Orange Interviewed by Tay Zonday.”

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Welcome to the final post in Howcast’s Modern 101 for Emerging Digital Filmmakers. On Friday, October 1, we kicked off our series with Embracing exploration: being a filmmaker today and today we’re wrapping up with a video co-produced with Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, How has the web changed film school?

Over the course of our series, we shared breakfast with our Howcast Emerging Filmmakers and learned instant gratification is a huge benefit to being a web filmmaker; we offered up a digital roadmap for filmmakers; sat in on Shooting People’s Ingrid Kopp’s Digital Bootcamp; talked with some producers about how the web is changing film festivals; and outlined one filmmaker’s plan of attack for distributing and promoting his short documentary. (Plus, lots more!)

We felt it was fitting to end up at the beginning of a film career -- talking to current film students and professors about how the web complements a formal film education and how web filmmaking will fit into students’ careers after graduation.



As the students at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy explain in their video, they watch hundreds of hours of web video each week and they upload regularly. The web is giving them a chance to learn how audiences respond to their ideas and their professors see it as a viable venue for quality work. This is exciting news for filmmakers everywhere. Whether you’re in school or not, the web’s vast network of videos, collaborators, and viewers is reachable within minutes.

There has always been one thing about film school that can’t really be summed up in a course catalogue and a filmmaker can’t get working in a vacuum, and that’s the chance to fine tune your craft amongst other young creators and veteran professionals. Create, share, get feedback, create again. It’s all about practice. This chance to practice was really only previously available to a small few with the resources to access equipment and education. Thanks to technology, today a filmmaker anywhere -- in film school, in high school, or even a hobbyist -- can see an innovative video, be inspired to make their own, upload, and get insight from a worldwide community of filmmakers. To me, that’s been the most important lesson we shared in our blog series.

Happy holidays and happy shooting!

Heather Menicucci, Director, Howcast Filmmakers Program, recently watched “I Hope This Gets To You”.

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Today we bring you a guest post from Chris Anderson, Curator of TED, a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Anderson explains how TED and YouTube are teaming up to present a challenge called 'Ads Worth Spreading'.

Video is a powerful medium for spreading ideas. Over the past four years, TED has posted over 800 TEDTalks on TED.com and on YouTube. We've been thrilled to see the world respond -- watching the videos more than 375 million times.

Our mission -- of spreading ideas around the world -- is supported in part by advertising. And we believe that advertising should evoke the same emotions a TEDTalk does -- it should make you think, make you respond, make you want to share -- a great idea, a product that makes the world better, an initiative that might change the world. Like YouTube, we want to see the same level of passion in online ads as we do in our TEDTalks. So, we’ve created a challenge called 'Ads Worth Spreading' to solicit the best ads that raise the bar, elevate the craft and invent new forms of online engagement.



We invite you to enter the competition. Entries can be hysterically funny, stunningly beautiful, or just intriguing, fascinating, ingenious and persuasive. For inspiration, check out examples of great creative on YouTube Show and Tell. It is free to enter, the submission deadline is February 7, 2011, and full contest rules are right here.

We’re excited to see your ads worth spreading!

Chris Anderson, TED Curator, recently watched "Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man."

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With 35 hours of video now being uploaded to YouTube every minute, keeping up with the latest goings-on around here can be a challenge.

Last week, we officially unveiled YouTube Trends (youtube.com/trends), a new set of tools designed to help you stay on top of the latest popular videos and trends on the world's largest video site.

Here's more of an explanation:



YouTube Trends features new algorithmically-generated feeds that highlight which topics and videos are trending right now. The site also offers a ‘top videos’ module and a blog with more in-depth explorations of videos, trends, news, and cultural phenomena as seen through the lens of YouTube. We've also created a Trends Dashboard that lets you quickly explore what's popular in different cities in the U.S. and around the world, as well as within specific demographic groups.

Last Monday, we started a 12-day countdown to the holidays exploring the top videos from 2010. So far, we've posted lists of the top videos in:

We've also examined extreme winter weather footage from across North America, looked at how Justin Bieber's "Baby" got so big, tracked "Double Rainbow's" popularity, seen how the same practical joke traveled across seven different countries, and settled the age-old question: dogs or cats?

YouTube Trends is like your water cooler for web video, so check back each day to see the very latest.

For more specific info about YouTube Trends, visit our FAQ or watch a video walk-through.

Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, recently watched "So Long To Ya, 2010 | The Jib-Jab 2010 Year in Review!"

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Day one of Project for Awesome was a huge success, thanks to you! So many videos have been created and shared with the world. If you haven't already, we encourage you to create and upload a video promoting your favorite cause or charity.

To celebrate the finale of Project for Awesome, join us for a live show from 4 - 7pm PST at www.youtube.com/p4a. YouTube's biggest stars and some of the world's leading nonprofit organizations will team up to promote important causes in education, health, poverty, children's wish giving and more -- through a wide array of entertaining moments and stories.

We look forward to your participation!

Christopher Hamilton and Bing Chen, Product Marketing Managers, recently watched "Project for Awesome! P4A! charity : water".

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Because YouTube is a platform for free expression of all sorts, we take great care when we enforce our Community Guidelines. We try to allow as much content as possible on the site and still ensure that the rules are followed. It is a delicate balancing act, and we depend on our uploaders to help.

Let us explain. Check out the two videos below. Notice anything different between them? Same content, right? Not quite.

Video #1

Video #2

While the difference may appear insignificant, the
context of the two videos is very different. In this case, the first video provides very little information, or context, about what the video is about, while the second video is much more instructive. Why does this matter? Because the video alone doesn’t always tell the whole story. A video’s title, description and tags are critical in how we apply our Community Guidelines.

It’s a balancing act. As you can see in the video examples above, it’s difficult to understand the intention of the uploader without the proper context. Why does understanding the intention of the uploader important? Well, generally speaking, nudity or graphic content is not allowed on YouTube. However, we do have exceptions for educational, documentary, scientific, and artistic content. In order for us to determine whether an exception applies, we need your help. The more information you provide, the clearer your intentions will be.

Give as much context as possible. Your video’s title, description and tags are a great way to provide context to your videos. When our team reviews flagged content, titles or tags like “performance art piece" or "street riot in Jakarta" helps us understand the context of the material you're uploading.

Here are some tips on how to surround your videos with as much context as possible:
  • Provide an informative, relevant title.
  • Try to add some specific information into the description: who is in the video, what is happening, where and when did it happen, and why.
  • If you have a website (or know of one) that provides more detail about the content, such as a related news story or artist statement, feel free to direct viewers to it.
  • Think about your audience. What are you trying to accomplish through your content? Help inform and educate the viewer.
  • You can also add detail directly onto the video itself, using our annotations tool.
  • Even if you’re uploading from your phone, we ask that you try to provide as much context as possible.
But remember, there’s still a line. Keep in mind that certain content is still not okay. Don’t post footage that is highly focused on nudity or graphic content, or create montages from otherwise acceptable sources to supplant its original intent. Don’t try to circumvent your way around our Community Guidelines or look for loopholes.

Everyone makes mistakes. If your content is removed from the site and you feel it was in error, you have the ability to appeal the decision. To learn more about the appeal process, check out this page in our Help Center. And remember, context is king. The more detail you provide viewers upfront, the more likely everyone will understand your intent and the less likely it could be removed.

We hope this post gives you more insight into how we review content on YouTube. Our mission is to empower our users to share, educate, entertain and inform. Help us help you in that goal.

Amy Wright, Policy Specialist, recently watched "WILDFIRE (Segment)."

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Last week in our ongoing Howcast series on filmmaking in the digital age we talked about how the web is changing the traditional path toward film festivals. This week, we bring you an interview with filmmaker Sam Kauffmann whose films have screened at festivals all over the world and who is using the web to distribute his latest short documentary, ACT out against SAT.

I ran into Sam at the United Film and Video Association conference this summer. He was one of my professors at Boston University about 15 years ago, a time when we didn’t even shoot on video let alone consider “uploading” anything to the web. It was really exciting to talk with him about how our careers had evolved in this digital age.

How is the project different from your previous work as a documentary filmmaker?
ACT out against SAT is the first documentary I’ve ever made that uses an on-camera reporter to anchor the film. In all my previous documentaries I’ve purposely avoided using any on-camera talent, because to me the “talent” always gets between the audience and the subject. What’s different about this project is that I collaborated with my daughter Allie, who is 17 and a high school student. Not only does she have a really good camera presence, but she’s also going through the college admissions process and taking the grueling standardized tests.

What are your goals for this project?
Our goal is simple: we want people to reevaluate the use of these standardized tests for both scholarships and college admissions. We’re not saying all standardized tests are wrong, but that these are. Any tests that are so coach-able — meaning you can teach someone tricks — are inherently flawed. What happens is that people with money can buy the best coaches and get the best results. The results are based on economic class rather than merit. Seems sort of un-American, right? So we hope that people will see the film, study the material on our website and sign the petition to change the way colleges use these tests.

You’ve decided to use the web as your main distribution outlet—what is your plan of attack? Can you explain your model?
This is above all a campaign and the film is one part of it. The film is only nine minutes long for a reason; we wanted something that worked well on the web. In the past, I might have created a stand-alone documentary of 30-60 minutes to handle this topic. Now I think it’s better to make a much shorter film and combine it with a really informative website. We actually have four elements to the campaign: the film, the website, a Facebook page, and a petition. The hope is that the film will attract attention to the website; the website will provide lots of information and links to other sites; and the Facebook page will help us attract a much larger audience to both the film, the website, and the petition. This project will become bigger and more powerful when people add their stories and experiences to the campaign.

Can you tell us why you you’ve decided to approach distribution this way?
In 2007, I made a short film called Massacre at Murambi. It screened at over 30 film festivals all over the world, including Seattle and Slamdance. It was aired nationally on PBS. But its biggest audience has been, and still is, YouTube. More than 870,000 people have watched this serious film about a serious topic. Clearly if you want an audience for your short film, YouTube is the way to go. To try to make real change you need a good website, the power of social media and YouTube.

As a filmmaker who is experimenting with this model for the first time, do you have any advice for other filmmakers who are looking to use the web to distribute, promote, engage and launch careers?
I think it’s important to put together a small but dedicated group of people to help you do this. There is too much work involved to do all this by yourself. There are other people much better at some things than I am. My team includes my daughter, and current and former students, including some talented folks at Push Partners. If you don’t have money to pay, barter your producing, directing, shooting or editing skills in exchange for their skills. Stay together, stay loyal to each other, and as your careers advance, you’ll all benefit from each other’s success.

Next week, Howcast will conclude its semester-long series, a Modern 101 for Emerging Digital Filmmakers, with a video produced in conjunction with Tribeca Flashpoint Academy students and professors -- How is the web changing film school and the career paths of young filmmakers? Stay tuned!

Heather Menicucci, Director, Howcast Filmmakers Program, recently watched “Cat Diaries: The first ever movie filmed by cats”.

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Over the last 13 weeks, we've seen over 2000 submissions pour in from people around the country, all looking to have their play make it onto ESPN's SportsCenter. We've thoroughly enjoyed the incredible catches, buzzer beaters, game-winning goals, and most of all, the indomitable displays of competitive spirit. That's what sports on YouTube is all about!

Along those lines, we're thrilled to announce the winner of the YouTube | ESPN Your Highlight Presented by AT&T, as determined by community voting, is this video of Jay Fleming of Nashville, TN, shot by his father:



Jay's inspirational video beat some tough competition - these are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishers, respectively:







We'd like to thank everyone who viewed and voted upon videos. And to everyone who submitted a video, we say: well played.

Andrew Bangs, Sports Manager, recently watched "SLAP Magazine "One in a Million" 2010 Episode 7".

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Starting today, you might notice a button on YouTube.com asking if you want to check out an experimental homepage we’ve been working on. It’s an opt-in experiment, offering a homepage that has a real emphasis on a personalized video browsing and watching experience.

Some of the enhancements include:
  • Combined list - Merges your subscriptions, friend activity, and recommendations into one easier-to-scan list (and a “Subscription uploads” tab if you only want to see subscriptions)
  • Don’t miss a video - If a channel uploads 4 videos in a day, you’ll see all 4 - instead of just the latest video
  • Delete anything - Hover over any video you don’t want to watch and click ‘x’
  • Or just grey it out - Videos you’ve already watched will be grayed out - so even without deleting, you’ll know where you left off
  • Help me re-find stuff I just watched - Your homepage will include your recent likes and favorites so you can easily get back to them
  • Easy inbox - Links to your inbox (personal messages & comments) are front and center
  • Load much more - Watch older videos - all without leaving the homepage
You can see where these features are located by clicking the thumbnail of the page below:


To give it a try, just click this link. You can always revert back to the classic homepage by clicking on the “Back to classic homepage” link that you’ll see when you’re on the new homepage. We’re hoping to learn what works best for the YouTube community, and explore ways to make you feel right at home. Please tell us what you think through this feedback form.

John Fisher, recently watched, "Crazy Oklahoma State Interception vs. Oklahoma - November 27, 2010".

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Chestnuts are roasting on open fires and it’s the time to start thinking about holiday greetings for friends and family. If licking stamps isn’t your thing, send the gift of good video tidings by uploading your own unlisted video or creating an original video production with some new video web applications, tailored for the holidays.

Upload a personal video greeting and share it with an Unlisted link
Get the family together, put on a funny hat or sweater, and gather ‘round the webcam! You don’t have to broadcast your greeting to the entire YouTube community (unless you want to). When you upload your video, mark it as “Unlisted”. Then you can share it with only those people who have the URL. We just launched a new notification on the video watch page that lets people know the video is unlisted.


If you don’t have a video camera handy, have no fear. Check out these three free web applications can help you create original personal videos from text and images and easily upload them to YouTube.

Produce an original animated video with Xtranormal
If you can type, you can make a movie with Xtranormal, trust us. Simply compose a script and have holiday characters animate the message for you.



Make cool video slideshows with Stupeflix
Tell your story with unique video creation tools like instant preview, maps, text-to-speech.
It’s free and easy to try: no signup required, videos under 60 seconds are free.



Share your video greeting in minutes with Animoto
Animoto’s three new holiday video styles will be the greetings people remember. It’s fast, free, and ridiculously easy.



I hope you’ll have fun with these tools and enjoy a happy holiday season full of video!

Anna-Christina Douglas, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched “The Peanuts Holiday Collection - Snowflakes”.

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It was 500 days ago today that three American tourists, hiking in northern Iraq near the border of Iran, were detained by Iranian soldiers and imprisoned. Earlier this year, one of the three hikers, Sarah Shourd, was released -- but Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal (Sarah’s fiance) remain imprisoned, despite calls from the international community for their release. Today on our homepage, we’re featuring four videos from freethehikers.org, the organization actively working for their release.

Over the last 500 days, the supporters of Shane, Josh, and Sarah have used online media to raise awareness for their plight. They even submitted a question for our YouTube interview with President Clinton, which he answered back in September. Since Sarah’s release, she has devoted her life to freeing her two companions; just last week, she released a music video on YouTube, written to lyrics she composed while in prison. A chilling account of the emotional toil of her days in jail, “Piece of Time” is a reminder of the one thing the hikers lose every day: time.



To see more videos from Free the Hikers, check out their YouTube channel, and to find out what you can do to help, head over to freethehikers.org.


Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, recently watched “Sarah Shourd speaks about her time in prison.”

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*Update, December 15 at 17:15 PT: The 48 hour period of Project for Awesome starts at 9am PT / noon ET on Friday, December 17, and the live stream will take place from 4pm to 7pm PT on Saturday, December 18.*

Three years ago, the vlogbrothers Hank and John kick-started an initiative called Project for Awesome, which called for YouTube users across the world to “take over YouTube” by creating videos that promote their favorite charities and causes. Project for Awesome built on its initial success again in 2008, resulting in thousands of user submissions and a homepage takeover, as people around YouTube took to the web to make the world more awesome for the holidays. Hank and John upped the ante last year by increasing community participation, making Project for Awesome (#p4a) one of the top trending topics on Twitter in December 2009.



Project for Awesome 2010 officially begins on December 17 at 12:01 AM, when users are encouraged to upload videos for their favorite causes and charities. To celebrate the end of Project for Awesome on Saturday, December 18, join us for a live show on YouTube at www.youtube.com/p4a. We’re teaming up with the vlogbrothers, some of YouTube’s biggest stars like daneboe of Annoying Orange, Michelle Phan, Phil DeFranco, Michael Buckley, Shay Carl, and iJustine, and prominent nonprofit organizations to broadcast a four hour live show from 4 - 8pm PST. The live show involves a wide array of entertainment: from musical performances to user-generated games to special moments that only YouTube can bring. Moreover, this year, Project for Awesome will focus on raising awareness and encouraging action in four areas: innovation in education, health, poverty, and children’s wish-giving.

Representatives from eight charities will be in attendance at this next-generation telethon: including Beatbullying, DonorsChoose, Make a Wish Foundation, Marine Toys For Tots Foundation, Open University, Partners in Health, Save The Children, and Water.org.

And, as in past years, we’re encouraging the global YouTube community to create videos on behalf of these charities and the causes you’re most passionate about. Post them to your site, tweet them, put them on Facebook - do whatever you can to spread the awesome this holiday season. We look forward to seeing what you create, and hope you join us online this Saturday for a ton of awesomeness!

Margaret Healy, Strategic Partner Manager, recently watched "Zeitgeist 2010".

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Machinima.com programs and produces some of the most popular video channels on YouTube, including Machinima, Machinima Respawn, Machinima Sports, Machinima Realm, and Machinima Trailer Vault. They recently launched Bite Me, a five episode live-action series, that features three video gamers in the midst of a real-life zombie outbreak. We asked Andy Shapiro, VP of Development at Machinima, a few questions…

Tell us about Bite Me. What can the YouTube Community expect from the series?
With Bite Me, viewers will get a high-end premium live-action series that is designed to engage Machinima.com’s video gamer community, and appeal to a broader audience too. The initial run is five episodes that are structured to play both independently as well as a whole piece. Essentially, we are airing a pilot that, with success, we can continue producing as a regular series.

Bite Me was first conceived to tell the story of three habitual gamers that find themselves in a very real world situation. We didn’t want this to be just another zombie show, and wanted to creatively set it apart from the zombie movies and series that have come before. By setting the story during the actual zombie outbreak, we had fun writing about three under-estimated characters, who had to rise up after realizing that something terrible was happening. Ultimately this is an aspirational story, featuring unlikely heroes.

How have the fans reacted to the first episodes, and when do Episodes 3, 4, and 5 debut?
We are amazed by how the community has reacted to the series. The videos have had more than two million views so far, and we've loved reading the comments from the viewers. The response has been phenomenal, and people are responding well to the characters. We will debut the remaining episodes on December 11, December 17, and December 31 - exclusively on Machinima's YouTube Channel. You can check out the series and watch it from Episode 1 continuously here:



Why a zombie series, and why are people so passionate about zombies?
Zombies are the natural fit with our audience because zombies appear in their favorite movies, video games and comic books. It’s a genre with a deep history, that we intend to both honor and have fun with. There was a natural opportunity for integration with Capcom and their Dead Rising 2 title because our audience is not only fans of the game, but by including the title, we added more credibility to the characters as gamers and zombie experts.

You've had a lot of success with your YouTube Channels, Machinima, Respawn, Sports, Realm, and Trailer Vault? Can we expect more live-action series from Bite Me from Machinima.com?
We’re thrilled about the initial success the series. We’re learning a lot about digital story-telling, and are fortunate to have a very interactive audience who enjoys seeing us play with gaming culture. We look forward to growing our entertainment series, and people can check-out our channel for more of these types of projects.

Kenji Arai, Strategic Partner Manager, recently watched “Kev Jumba vs Globetrotters”.

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My mom recently purchased a new camcorder and she’s having a blast capturing just about everything on video. She often calls me to describe what incredible event she’s just documented and suggests that we watch it together the next time I visit. Unfortunately, now that I’ve moved across the country, my trips back home are rather infrequent. If only she knew how to share videos online, I’d be able to view them with her no matter where I am.

I’ve already set aside time to teach my mom how to share videos when I visit for the holidays, but I’m sure many others could also benefit from such a tutorial. In fact, thoughts like this inspired a handful of us at Google to create TeachParentsTech.org, a place where “kids” of any age can send basic how-to videos to their moms, dads, uncles--whomever. Here’s the one I created about sharing videos on YouTube.



To see more videos or to send someone a tech support “care package” of your own, visit TeachParentsTech.org.

Rita Chen, Associate Product Manager, recently watched "YouTube 2010: Year in Rewind".

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If you’re like most people, you probably love watching YouTube videos on your computer. But what if there were a full-screen, HD version of YouTube available a channel flip away on your TV? Now there is, made possible by Google TV.

Google TV brings television, apps, and the entire World Wide Web directly to your living room...so you can watch even more YouTube, only now on the biggest screen in your home. And because it’s the season of giving, the crew here at YouTube and Google are excited to announce a contest to give away 100 free 46” Sony Internet TVs powered by Google TV.



To enter to win, create and upload a video telling us and all your friends on YouTube why you’re pumped up about Google TV. Winning submissions will be selected based on originality, creativity, entertainment factor, technical execution, and how well you explain why you are excited about Google TV and watching YouTube on Google TV. View the contest rules and full list of judging criteria here.

Don’t forget to upload your video by December 22, and tag it with “ytgtv” so we can showcase your creations. Winners will be announced by January 20, 2011.

Good luck!

Camille Hearst, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched “Sony Google TV: Hands-On”.

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It’s time to rewind back through the YouTube videos that people in the U.S. and around the world were watching and searching for in 2010. These lists of most-watched videos reflect the people, places and events that captured our collective attention and imagination throughout the year. During 2010, you all watched more than 700 billion YouTube videos, and uploaded more than 13 million hours of video. We met a bunch of new faces, some new words and phrases entered our shared lexicon, and we celebrated as some new YouTube partners hit the big time with millions of views. Remember these moments?


  • Columnist Dan Savage took to YouTube to respond to a spate of suicides by gay teenagers by launching the “It Gets Better” project to send messages of hope to bullied gay teens. The campaign went viral, with everyone from President Obama to Pixar employees taking part.



And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for … here are the most-watched videos of 2010, compiled based on the view counts of videos uploaded during 2010. In some instances we aggregated totals across multiple versions of the same video to find the most-watched clip that really set YouTube on fire this year.

Globally, as of November 2010, the most-watched YouTube videos (excluding major label music videos) were:
  1. BED INTRUDER SONG!!! (now on iTunes)
  2. TIK TOK KESHA Parody: Glitter Puke - Key of Awe$ome #13
  3. Greyson Chance Singing Paparazzi
  4. Annoying Orange Wazzup
  5. Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
  6. Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10
  7. OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine version
  8. THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE - Trailer
  9. Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fan
  10. Ken Block's Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome
And globally, as of November 2010, the most-watched major label music videos were:
  1. Justin Bieber - Baby ft. Ludacris
  2. Shakira ft. Freshlyground - Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) (The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Song)
  3. Eminem - Love The Way You Lie ft. Rihanna
  4. Eminem - Not Afraid
  5. Rihanna - Rude Boy
  6. Justin Bieber - Never Say Never ft. Jaden Smith
  7. Justin Bieber - Never Let You Go
  8. Lady Gaga - Alejandro
  9. Justin Bieber - Somebody To Love Remix ft. Usher
  10. Lady Gaga - Telephone ft. Beyonce
The most-searched for queries on YouTube during the year show what was on our collective minds as 2010 played out. Like Google Zeitgeist, these lists reveal the interests, issues and entertainment that connected us.
January - haiti
February - luge
March - eclipse trailer
April - ipad
May - eminem not afraid
June - shakira waka waka
July - double rainbow
August - bed intruder
September - halo reach
October - whip my hair
November - firework

For more reminders of the people, places and events that played out on YouTube during 2010, visit
youtube.com/rewind or check out YouTube Trends for more detailed lists.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched “Zeitgeist 2010: The Year in Review.”

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Do you have the ultimate idea about how to close the poverty gap? Here’s your chance to tell the world. For the fourth year, through the Davos Debates program, one lucky YouTube user will get an all-access pass to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where global leaders gather to tackle the most important issues facing our world.

To enter the running, all you have to do is submit your one-minute video summarizing your ideas on the importance of inclusive growth - a key theme of this year’s event. Not sure what inclusive growth really means? Past Davos Debates winners break it down for you here:





The winner with the best video will be selected as an informal YouTube community representative to participate in the Annual Meeting and take part in a special panel during the event. You’ll not only have the opportunity to rub elbows with the most powerful leaders in the world, you’ll be given a platform to share your views with them.

The deadline to submit your ideas is January 14, so visit the Davos channel today to make your voice heard.


Ramya Raghavan, News and Politics Manager, recently watched "White House Tree Time-Lapse"

Posted:
Voting is in, and a channel showcasing the irresistible cuteness of a Jack Russell terrier named Jesse is the winner of this month’s “On the Rise” competition.


See why Jesse’s so lovable in this video and via these words from his trainer, Heather:


Jesse and I have a wonderful relationship, and we have got where we are now through love, respect, patience, mutual understanding, and trust. Tricks are a wonderful bonding experience. It is so much fun seeing Jesse thinking while learning, and he has so much fun performing his tricks. We keep training sessions short, fun, and upbeat. You can tell when Jesse is having fun because he has a huge smile across his face :) He is such a joy to live with, and I cherish every moment we have together.

Some of Jesse’s top videos are on the homepage today, and we’ll be back soon with a new crop of “On the Rise” channels for you to vote on. Feel free to also leave suggestions in the comments below, though please note that comments are moderated due to spam.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched “Jesse goes to New York City!

Posted:
This post is part of our ongoing Howcast series on film making in the digital age. Today Howcast's Jane Renaud invites Kim Jose and Livia Bloom to talk about how the web is changing film festivals.

In 2007, Kim Jose co-founded
Elephant Eye Films, a New York based film company that produces, sells and theatrically distributes feature films. Elephant Eye has assembled a prestigious slate of projects from some of the world’s most distinctive filmmakers including Lee Daniels, John McNaughton, Spike Lee and Sebastian Silva. Livia Bloom is a curator of cinema retrospectives. She is the Director of Exhibition & Broadcast for Icarus Films, and her writing and interviews regularly appear in film journals including Cinema Scope, Film Comment, and Filmmaker Magazine.


When I graduated film school in 2005, I had a fairly straightforward game plan: 1) submit a student short film to festivals, 2) gain acceptance to those festivals, 3) make posters, postcards, DVDs, and maybe a website with a trailer to promote the film.

Five years later, that plan is out the window. It’s not news that for many filmmakers, YouTube and other video sites represent the primary way to reach an audience. As we here at Howcast put together our ‘Modern 101 for Digital Filmmakers,’ I knew I wanted to investigate how the rise of web video has changed the role of film festivals, particularly for emerging filmmakers.

On the one hand, a filmmaker in Salem, OR no longer depends on the festival programmer in Austin, TX for a venue: she can upload her short the day she finishes editing and start targeting viewers directly. But it’s yet unclear how online popularity translates into the kind of industry exposure, relationships and deals long associated with festival success. How do film festivals fit into a career strategy that now necessarily includes online promotion and distribution? And for the traditional “gatekeepers” -- festival programmers and film distributors -- how does web video inform programming and acquisitions?

We enlisted film producer Kim Jose, Co-founder
Elephant Eye Films, and film distributor and writer Livia Bloom, Director of Exhibition & Broadcast for Icarus Films, to help us answer these questions.

How have festival submissions changed as web video has grown?
Livia Bloom: Film festival submissions and the number of film festivals themselves have grown exponentially as web video has grown. Also, online festival submission services have become prevalent, so charging a fee for each submission, which used to be rare, has become a viable and significant source of income for festivals.

Kim Jose: First, there are so many websites that bring awareness to festivals that would otherwise go unnoticed. From a distribution point of view, it is great to have access and knowledge of festivals on a regional scale. We can research and submit festivals quickly and easily in specific regional markets that are important to breaking out a small indie. These regional markets really can be a little indie’s bread and butter.

As more and more films--particularly short, independent, low budget films--become available online, has the function or value of the indie film festival changed?
LB: Movies becoming available "on demand” revolutionized the film world. Before that, if a movie played in your city, that generally meant it was being projected on a 35mm or 16mm print. You ran out to see it during its run or else, like a rare bird, you might never have the chance to see it again!

Is a festival ever less likely to screen a film that’s been widely viewed/promoted online?
LB: If a filmmaker grows a devoted following, that increases the chance of their films being widely distributed. Keep in mind, however, that content shifts a bit along with a shift in viewing space. A short that's popular YouTube might not translate well to television, your local movie theater, or an IMAX screen. The most competitive film festivals tend to require a global, continental, or national premiere. If a film is available in it's full version and full resolution on DVD or online, it's less likely to be selected for a prestigious film festival.

Now that everyone can distribute films online, do festivals serve a different purpose for filmmakers?
KJ: I think it is really important to set goals as a filmmaker before entering festivals. What do you want out of your festival experience? For a short film, you have made your calling card and should be searching for new people in film that will broaden your horizons from development executives to creative collaborators. The amount of festival laurels you have does not matter nearly as much as having your film seen by someone who will show you support and help you to the next level. As a feature filmmaker, distributors and festival programmers will be more of your target.

As our Modern 101 continues, we’ll continue to explore how emerging filmmakers can leverage online exposure with more traditional routes, like film festivals. Next week, we’ll be showing a case study of one short doc pursuing an online strategy. Stay tuned!

Jane Renaud, Howcast Associate Producer, recently watched "Actor Reel Master Database 002: Ted Goines".

Posted:
Musicians from Finland to New Zealand and from Austria to Vietnam have done their bit - submitting their audition videos for the chance to be part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 at Sydney Opera House. Now, with 336 finalists from 46 countries selected, it’s your turn to play your part: voting is open for who you think should make up the orchestra.

Your votes at youtube.com/symphony over the next seven days will help decide which of these talented musicians will be packing up their trombones, violas, and timpani and heading to Sydney Opera House from March 14-20, 2011, to perform together for a global audience.



You can vote once per video, per day, until 23:59 EST on December 17 to help YouTube Symphony Orchestra Artistic Advisor Michael Tilson Thomas boil the 300 shortlisted hopefuls down to the final 96. Your votes are also needed to help choose four solo improvisers. “Mothership” composer Mason Bates will be using your input to choose from 36 soloists, including show-stopping performances on instruments like the guzheng, the musical saw and… the udderbot.

Congratulations to those in the running, and to all of those who submitted an audition -- thank you for your hard work. We've been blown away by your talent and determination.

Check out the channel now and vote for your favorites.

Jamie Dolling, Marketing Manager, recently watched “Magic Moments: The Udderbot."

Posted:
The holiday season is in full swing, and with it thoughts of delicious mealtimes and festive feasts - but not every child around the world has a full tummy at this time of the year. Every five seconds a child dies from hunger-related causes, and one in four kids in the U.S. are food insecure.

Google and YouTube is working with Sesame Street and Chef Art Smith to raise awareness about how families can eat healthy food on a budget. Elmo also sat down with Art to answer questions picked by the community using Google Moderator on their YouTube channel. Elmo and Art tackled tough topics like how to get kids to eat more veggies and offered tips for cooking good meals in a hurry.



And to top if off, Art Smith shared a few of his favorite, healthy recipes:

Turkey Shepards Pie
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 scallions chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
3 medium carrots, large dice
2 medium celery stalks, medium diced
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
5 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
2 pounds of cooked turkey meat, cut into pieces
1 cup of frozen vegetables
5 cups of mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375
In a skillet add butter heat to medium add scallions, garlic, thyme and cook till soft.
Add carrots, cook till tender.
Add flour cook with veggies 5 minutes
Add turkey broth and stir till no lumps
Add veggies and turkey pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour into casserole, 13 by 9.
Top with mash potatoes, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Bake 30 minutes till brown and bubbly

Ginny Hunt, Public Sector Program Manager, recently watched “Leftovers Recipe: Turkey Pot Pie”.

Posted:
We launched YouTube annotations in June 2008 to allow people get even more creative with their videos and add layers of interactivity, information and, well, good old fun. What followed was a tidal wave of innovation. From guitar lessons to interactive pianos, inspirational videos, ads, quizzes and games, not to mention everyone’s favorite, choose your own adventure videos, YouTube creators big and small really took to annotations and put them to use in incredible ways, including creating entire websites. Nonprofit organizations found annotations an effective way to direct viewers to their site and raise money for their causes.

To put this in numbers, we currently have close to 100 million individual annotations in the system and the rate of publishing is growing. One in five YouTube video views shows annotations and many of these are clickable. Annotations have been an effective mechanism for content discovery and cross promotion with some creators getting as much as 20% of their views from annotation links placed in videos.

Today, we’re happy to announce some important improvements to annotations:
  • A brand new annotation editor - based on user feedback, we overhauled the annotation editor and moved most of the functionality to a new side panel to streamline annotation creation, editing and deletion while leaving the player less cluttered.
  • New annotation type - “Title” - Title annotations enable overlaying headlines, videos titles, credits and other “big text” on top of your video, just like you would with professional video editing tools.
  • New Font size options - you can now select from a combined set of six font sizes.
  • New color options - annotations are now available in 16 background colors and 14 font colors.

Annotations can be a very powerful creative tool and make videos that are engaging, informative and interactive; however it’s important to realize that overlay text and hotspots can also interrupt and distract viewers. Not every use of annotation is necessarily a good use - there is an art to it. This is why we published Tips and Suggestions on how to get more from your annotations while respecting viewers’ wishes and maintaining a small footprint.

Finally we’re discontinuing the Collaborative Annotations feature to make room for even more new features coming soon.

To start annotating your videos, go to My Videos and choose “Annotations” from the drop down menu next to the video you wish to annotate. For inspiration check out
this playlist and see some of our favorite annotated videos. Happy annotating.

Itamar Gilad, Product Manager, recently watched “The YouTube Radio! (Interactive)” and Aaron Bingham, Annotations Engineering Lead, recently watched “Felix’s Machines.”

Posted:
Your creativity isn’t bound by a time limit, so why should your video uploads be? Back in July we raised the upload limit to 15 minutes for all users. Starting today, we’ll begin allowing selected users with a history of complying with the YouTube Community Guidelines and our copyright rules to upload videos that are longer than 15 minutes.

So go find that movie you wrote and filmed last year and share it with the world! Or upload your son’s championship high school basketball game or the insightful lecture you just gave on the emerging economics of green tech. As long as it’s your original content, it’s fair game regardless of length.

This launch has been made possible in part by the continued advances in our state-of-the-art Content ID system, as well as our other powerful tools for copyright owners. Over 1000 global partners use Content ID to manage their content on YouTube, including every major U.S. movie studio and music label. We remain as dedicated as ever to building and improving the most sophisticated technology in the world to help copyright owners protect their rights.

Just click the “Upload” button at the top of the site to see if your account qualifies. And remember, if you’re uploading a video that was previously rejected for being too long, go into “My Videos” and delete the old video before uploading it again. <--- UPDATED 3/25/2011: We no longer recommend this, as users have experienced unintended loss of unlimited length upload privileges as a result of removing existing videos.

Joshua Siegel, Product Manager, and Doug Mayle, Software Engineer, Upload, recently watched "The Muppets: Beaker's Ballad".

Posted:
This is a guest post by John Polson, the founder and director of the world’s largest short film festival, Tropfest. Entries are now open for Tropfest 2011, and for the first time it’s a truly global initiative - finalists will be flown from anywhere in the world to the festival screening in Sydney on February 20, 2011. John talks here about how Tropfest came about.

There are two things I know about good ideas: They almost never happen overnight and they’re almost never borne of a single person.

Certainly, that’s how it was for Tropfest. Today, the world’s largest short film festival attracts a crowd of around 150,000 in Sydney each February, as well as thousands more in New York and other cities at other times of the year.

But it certainly didn’t start out that way. I made a short film when I was 27 and, unable to afford a cinema, decided to screen it at the Tropicana café in Sydney where much of it was shot. Expecting around 20 cast and crew to show up, I arrived on the night to find 200 people there, waiting to see my movie.

The film was pretty average (it was called “Surry Hills: 902 Spring Roll” so that gives you some idea…) but the night was an undisputed triumph. Dozens and dozens of people crammed into the café, trying to get a glimpse of the screen I’d borrowed for the occasion.

Almost immediately, this one-night event took on a life of its own, largely because of the enthusiasm of a whole new breed of young filmmakers that were hanging around the Tropicana Café at the time, looking for something to pour their creative energy into.

So what was it that grabbed us all that night? I believe, without realizing it, we were tapping into something that’s inside all of us: the basic human desire for story.

People need stories. Cavemen would come back after a big hunt, frustrated that they weren’t able to convey the emotion and excitement of what they’d been through, so they’d tell stories – paint pictures – so that others could feel like they were right there with them.

Stories about other people give context to our own lives. They’re used for entertainment, for teaching, and for passing on knowledge and wisdom. The technologies we use today may be new, but storytelling itself is anything but.

Speaking of technology, there has never been a better time in the history of the planet to pick up a camera or a mobile phone and tell your own visual story. People share their stories every day (see here for some Tropfest highlights from the past few years). This year, we’re proud to continue to empower storytelling through YouTube, and we’re calling on you to submit your short film for the 19th annual Movie Extra Tropfest competition. You can be of any age and nationality, and for the first time ever, any filmmaker from outside Australia whose film is chosen as a finalist to screen at the festival will be flown to Sydney, Australia, for the event on February 20, 2011.



You can find all the guidelines for submission here, and entries close on Thursday January 6, 2011 at 6pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

So if you’ve got an idea, or even if you haven’t, pick up a camera and see what happens.

Here’s a story for you: a guy makes a short film and 150,000 people show up. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

John Polson, Founder and Director of Tropfest, recently watched Lucky.

Posted:
Imagine a momentary glimpse into 80,000 perspectives from around the world. A goat farmer in the Ukraine heads to work in the morning. Three Angolan women sing a song as they beat corn into meal at lunchtime. A young man in the United States comes out to his grandmother.

You’ll see these scenes and more in the final cut of "Life in a Day” when it premieres globally on YouTube and at the Sundance Film Festival at 8:15PM EST on Thursday, January 27.

Life in a Day” is a unique documentary filmed by YouTube users that tells the story of a single day on earth -- July 24, 2010. For the past five months, director Kevin Macdonald, editor Joe Walker, and a team of researchers have been editing almost 5,000 hours of footage received into a feature film. Video from 192 countries were submitted and, today, a 94-minute film remains. Here’s a message from Macdonald:



To be among the first to see the film, tune in to the live broadcast from the Sundance Film Festival, which will be followed by an interactive Q&A with Macdonald. And if you can’t make the 8:15 p.m. EST showing on January 27, not to worry! We’ll repeat the broadcast shortly thereafter in different time zones around the world. An on-demand version of the film will also be available (and free) later in the year.

To stay up to date with the latest on the project, be sure to subscribe to the Life in a Day channel at http://www.youtube.com/lifeinaday. You can also browse thousands of videos submitted by users in the gallery, which is made possible by LG.

Tim Partridge, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched “John Cooper on Life in a Day."