Posted:
So here it is: 2009. And after our 24-video marathon run through 2008’s memorable moments, hopefully you’re feeling suitably entertained and fired with enthusiasm for the year ahead.



But before we move on into the unknown, let’s take closer look at some of the videos we have featured through the day – be it for the sake of Auld Lang Syne, or just for kicks. Because here at YouTube there is nothing we like more than a bit of backstory to place a video in context.



Weezer: Pork and Beans



Weezer's video hit YouTube on May 23. Drawing on 24 of the biggest viral hits the site has seen to date -- from "Dramatic Chipmunk" to "Miss Teen USA 2007 South Carolina" to Tay Zonday's "Chocolate Rain" -- the video salutes some of the most memorable moments and people in YouTube's history, generating more than 15,500,000 clicks in the process and creating (dare we say it) a video that transcended the sum of its estimable parts.



Christian the Lion



This story of an unbreakable bond between man and beast was one of the most talked about videos of 2008. It briefly chronicles the true story of a lion being reunited with the two men who raised him, years after he'd been released back into the wild and become the leader of his own pride. The actual reunion took place in 1972, but this archive footage was rediscovered and posted to YouTube earlier this year. If one video saw tears stain the leathery cheeks of the battle-hardened YouTube Team over the past 12 months, this was it…



Frozen Grand Central



The New York-based collective Improv Everywhere have become firm favorites on YouTube, thanks to their unique public hijinks. Videos like "No Pants Subway Ride" and "Food Court Musical" offer good examples of their large-scale pranks, but the elaborate public performance "Frozen Grand Central Station" was especially popular. The video features more than 200 people simultaneously freezing in place at Grand Central Station in New York City; the reactions of onlookers are as striking as the stunt itself. They claim to ‘cause scenes’ – they don’t lie.



Where The Hell Is Matt?



Matt Harding is best known as the goofy guy who danced his way around the world. But Harding's frankly risible grooving has brought inspiration and joy to millions of people -- over 14 million have viewed it on YouTube alone. As one observant user said: "It shows that no matter how different we are on the outside, inside we all just want to dance, laugh, and have fun."



Rick Astley: Never Gonna Give You Up




Chances are that at some point in 2008, you or someone you know experienced a "Rick Roll": a bait-and-switch prank that dupes you into watching the video for Rick Astley's 1980s hit "Never Gonna Give You Up." The joke even transcended the Internet with organizers of football games, parades and rallies "Rick Rolling" unsuspecting attendees. But perhaps the ultimate "Rick Roll" occurred on April Fool's Day, when YouTube rigged up every feature to the video. Then he was pronounced Best Act Ever by MTV Europe after – you guessed it – an internet poll. You naughty, naughty people.



Will.i.am: Yes We Can Obama Song



When Barack Obama delivered his concession speech after the New Hampshire primary, little did he know he was providing the script -- and the inspiration -- for the most-watched political video of 2008. Will.i.am's "Yes We Can" music video, a celebrity-studded mash-up of Obama's speech, became an instant viral sensation upon its release in early February, and arguably had a massive influence on Election '08 and popular culture. Seen over six million times just on Will.i.am's official YouTube channel, the video has inspired voters, young people, and satirists alike.



Fred Loses His Meds



Who says you can't become an overnight success on YouTube? Not 15-year-old Lucas Cruikshank, or Fred Figglehorn as he is known to fans, who created a Web series in which he plays a hyperactive six-year-old with anger management issues. Fred's hyper-kinetic videos quickly caught people's attention and helped make him the fastest-rising star in YouTube history. The above video (his second) was Fred's first to break a million views, jump-starting his meteoric rise to his current position as the No. 1 Most Subscribed user on YouTube.



Star Wars according to a three-year-old



This sweet-faced little lady became a YouTube sensation with her retelling of the original Star Wars movie. Fans of the film can go on for hours discussing the plot, but this three-year-old sums it up in less than two minutes. If not the most detailed description of Star Wars ever, it's arguably the most adorable. Warning: Spoiler Alert.



The Miley Cyrus Story



Not only did Miley release a hit song (and video) this year with 7 Things, which inspired several user-generated parodies (some of them nearly as popular as the original), but the Hannah Montana star also launched her own YouTube channel, MileyMandy with best friend Mandy Jiroux. The girls have used their channel to vlog and generally horse around for their audience of over 292,000 subscribers, and it's also where they post their M&M Cru dance battle videos, which together have notched nearly 15 million views and took the world's "biggest online dance battle" to a whole new level.



Super Mario Rescues The Princess: Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade



As the creator of Family Guy and American Dad, Seth MacFarlane has had a tremendous impact on animated entertainment. This year, MacFarlane opted to launch Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy exclusively on Google and YouTube. Not only was this a groundbreaking event for online video, it also showcased the financial opportunities that online advertising can offer film-makers (not that this comes as much surprise to members of the YouTube Partner Program).



Now we’ve had our say, we’d love to hear what you made of our end-of-year round up. Leave your comments below – it wouldn’t be YouTube without a little back and forth now, would it?



Here’s to a video-rich 2009. Happy New Year!

The YouTube Team

Posted:
When we announced the expansion of the YouTube Partner Program late last year, our goal was to offer some of the most popular and prolific original content creators in the YouTube community an easy way to generate revenue from their videos on the site. (For a quick recap of how the program works, see our previous blog post.)



Like the Internet itself, the YouTube community crosses borders and cultural boundaries. As part of our ongoing plan to reflect international user contribution to our service -- we've already localized our service for 18 countries -- we're excited to announce that once again we are expanding the YouTube Partner Program, this time by rolling out the program internationally. First stop, the United Kingdom. Now anyone living in the UK can apply to become a partner at uk.youtube.com/partners.



The program has grown significantly since its initial launch, with millions of video views each day earning revenue for our partners. We look forward to bringing the YouTube Partner Program to more international users in the near future. To where will we expand next? Stay tuned…



The YouTube Team

Posted:
Next Tuesday, February 5, may be the most important day yet in the 2008 race to the White House. Dubbed "Super Tuesday," it's when voters in 24 states take to the polls to vote for their parties' nominees. This year, half the delegates for each party's nomination are up for grabs.



We've created a special Super Tuesday channel on our You Choose '08 platform. Not only can you submit your political videos to the channel, but you can also tag them to a Google map to show the world where you're uploading from.







Zoom into the states to get a close-up view or scan across the map to follow the campaign through the eyes of voters, candidates, and news teams. We're already seeing some great content:







Keep watching, and if you live in one of the 24 Super Tuesday states, be sure to get out and vote!


Yours,

Steve G.

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
Check out these enjoyable changes that just went live, thanks to the local crew here at YouTube!



NEW VIEW FOR VIDEOS TAB



We've improved your video browsing experience by fully exposing the search options on the Videos page (searches like 'Most Viewed' and 'Recently Featured' were previously found via dropdown menu). This makes it easier to find what you're looking for quickly.



RECENT COMMENTS



To display the most recent comments you have made on YouTube videos, choose the new 'My Recent Comments' setting in your profile. On your channel page, users can also click 'View All' to see all comments you have ever made.



As always, feel free to share your thoughts with us on these new additions.



Yours,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
This week, the You Choose '08 platform, our hub for American political content, gets made over for the United Kingdom and Spain. These new platforms include the official YouTube channels of the major political parties in those countries and allow you to interact with local politicians through video. U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has already gotten the conversation started:







In Spain, where federal elections are just over a month away, voters have the chance to ask the candidates questions on live television through a special partnership with RTVE, Spain's largest broadcaster. Much like in our CNN/YouTube debates, Spanish voters are submitting video questions for the candidates, who will then answer a handful of them in six live television interviews.



Citizens and candidates around the world are using YouTube for political expression, as we've seen recently in Kenya, Japan, Australia, and Myanmar. And as we continue to launch localized versions of our site, we will continue to build areas where you can learn more about your leaders and interact directly with them.


Yours,

Steve G.

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
Today we're excited to announce the official debut of YouTube for Mobile, featuring a new and improved mobile website, m.youtube.com! Until today, many of you who tried watching videos on m.youtube.com from your mobile phones may have longed to see a wider selection of videos and more community features that you've come to know and love on YouTube.com. Now you can, and here's what's changed:



  • Millions of videos: YouTube for Mobile now features tens of millions of videos, which includes most of the videos already available on YouTube.com and your own uploaded videos.

  • Community on the go: You can now access your YouTube account, your Favorites, your own uploaded Videos and your favorite Channels. You can also share, rate, and comment directly from the mobile website to other YouTube users.

  • Mobile phone uploads available within moments: Now if you upload videos from your phone to YouTube via email/mms, they will appear within moments on both m.youtube.com and www.youtube.com. This means you can easily share videos you capture on your phone with your friends and family. All you need to do is create a mobile profile at www.youtube.com/mobile.

  • Global: Global: YouTube for Mobile is available and localized for the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Poland, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, New Zealand, Germany, and Russia.


As long as your phone and mobile operator support streaming video, anyone can access YouTube for Mobile simply by going to 'm.youtube.com' in their phone browser. There are a couple requirements for supporting YouTube for Mobile:

    1. Your device has to support RTSP streaming. To determine if your mobile device supports this type of streaming, you may want to check your device's manual to find a description of its specifications.


    2. Your service carrier has to allow streaming videos. You may want to contact your carrier for more information about the availability of data streaming on your mobile device.

In addition, we're also releasing a beta version of a YouTube for Mobile downloadable application. It's different from the YouTube for Mobile website (m.youtube.com) because it is a Java (J2ME) application you install on your phone, whereas m.youtube.com you access via your phone's web browser. The app is available in US and UK English and supports the following phones:

  • Sony Ericsson k800, w880

  • Nokia e65, n95, n73, 6110 navigator and 6120 classic


To download the app, simply point your phone browser to m.youtube.com and if your phone's one of the above, you should be prompted to download and install the application.



You may be wondering, "Is YouTube for Mobile the same as what's available on the Helio Ocean or Apple iPhone?" In a nutshell, yes -- YouTube for Mobile is all about bringing video to mobile phones. We believe in providing the best user experience possible for all users, which in some cases means different YouTube solutions for different phones. Overall, we're pretty excited about working with our partners and users to make YouTube for Mobile better and better over the next year.



So point your phone browser to m.youtube.com and check out the latest changes today! And if you've got any feedback for us on YouTube for Mobile, leave us a comment on this blog entry or post a video response to the video below, in which YouTube for Mobile team members Andy and Dwipal tell you about the new features:







Best,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
In an effort to keep users more informed on current bugs, fixes, and quirky site issues, we've launched the new YouTube Known Issues Page.



When possible, we'll also tell you about temporary workarounds that can solve the problem until our engineers have fixed it completely. If you find something on the site that doesn't seem to be working quite right, come here to find out if we've already addressed the issue. If one of the issues matches a problem you've experienced, please let us know by clicking "This is my issue!" That'll help us understand which problems are affecting the most people so we can get to them as quickly as possible.



You can find the Known Issues link in the right column of most pages in the Help Center.



We'll update the Known Issues page often. Please note that if there's a more widespread problem (like the homepage disappearing!), you can go to the Help Center homepage where we'll broadcast the issue in a bright red box we call the Status Module. You can review past Status Module posts here.



Keepin' it real,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
They came, they saw, they conquered! During their visit to YouTube HQ in November, the Community Council had the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas directly with 'Tube staff from various teams and participate in usability studies. Through ongoing discussions with YouTube and beta feature testing (like video recommendations and a new home page design in the works), users bgirl5, bradofarrell, sarrycrey, tlg847, and visiblemode have made great strides in representing the community's voice within the product. Here's a rundown of features YouTube's Community Council has brought their influence to thus far:



features recently implemented with the help of council input:



--RSS LINKS ON VIDEO BROWSE PAGES



--'MOST ACTIVE TODAY' & 'PREVIOUSLY POPULAR' VIDEO SEARCH



--SUBSCRIPTIONS UPDATE - (Closed and suspended accounts now automatically removed from subscriptions)



features scheduled which are coming soon:



--CHARACTER COUNTER FOR COMMENTS - A visual counter letting you know when you are approaching the character limit when writing comments on videos.



--RECENT COMMENTS - A module on your channel page showing all the videos (& comments) you have ever commented on.



To continue the cycle of feedback and discussions going between the community, the Council, and YouTube, we invite you to send us your ideas for new features, site improvements, and your input on the following list to suggestions@youtube.com.



items currently in progress or under consideration that we'd like to get more community feedback on:



--'VLOGGER' TYPE CHANNEL - What type of specific features would you like to see for a vlogger account type?



--'YOUTUBE BASICS' VIDEO - A brief video with educational step-by-step instructions for things like: how to report issues to Help Center, how to make the most of your channel design, etc.. What are some helpful tips you think would be cool for newer users?



--MORE CHANNEL STATS - What kind of stats related to your channel would you be most interested in seeing?



--VIDEO RECOMMENDATIONS - These could be based on what types of videos you and your friends watch, add as 'favorites', channels you subscribe to, etc. (ie. "If you like this channel, you might also like...").



--DISCOVERING NEW COMMUNITIES - Offering new ways for YouTubers to find other like-minded users and sub-communities more easily.



--EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS - We have heard many requests for improvements on our notifications system and want to get your take on changes you would like to see made to emails and getting updates from YouTube in general.



--FULLSCREEN PLAYER - What features are you interested in seeing on the full screen player?



--'FRIENDS' MANAGEMENT - Improving managing and organizing 'friends' on your channel.



--COMMENTS/VIDEO RESPONSES PER INDEX POINT - Referring to a specific point in the video you are commenting on or making a video response for.



Remember to send your thoughts on the features above to suggestions@youtube.com and we'll check them out. (Note: this email address is for feature requests and ideas only. Please contact our Help Center if you are having an issue you need immediate assistance with).







Our goal is to continue bringing forth ideas and feedback from you, and the Council, and turn them into actual features on the site which will benefit the overall YouTube community. Rest assured, this group has been working diligently to turn users' suggestions into realities.



This message has been brought to you by your friendly YouTube Community Council.

Until the next update...



The YouTube Team

Posted:
For many film lovers on YouTube, seeing Michel Gondry, the incredibly
talented, award-winning filmmaker behind films like Eternal Sunshine of
the Spotless Mind
and The Science of Sleep, be an active member of our
community has been nothing short of amazing. (You've likely seen his Rubik's Cube video and "deblending" techniques.)



So who better to curate the home page during the 2008 Sundance Film
Festival
than Monsieur Gondry himself? A Sundance veteran, Gondry will
head back to Park City, Utah, this year with his latest – and much
anticipated – film, Be
Kind Rewind
, starring Jack Black and Mos Def.



But, first, he'll program a festival of sorts right here on YouTube. His eclectic selection of picks is currently gracing our home page.



Enjoy,


Sara P.


YouTube Film

Posted:
This evening, the 2008 Sundance Film Festival opens for business. By Saturday, the streets of Park City, Utah, will be mobbed with filmmakers, film lovers and those who love filmmakers. Isn't it convenient, then, that you can watch the festival - one of the most influential in the world - unfold from the warm glow of your computer, without having to worry about snow drifts or velvet ropes?



Indeed, for the next week you can find coverage of the festival, direct from Sundance
Channel
, the festival's official broadcaster, updated daily in the spotlight and featured videos of the href="http://www.youtube.com/browse?s=rf&t=t&c=1&l=&b=0 ">Film & Animation category. Look for filmmaker profiles, red carpet premiere coverage and interviews from the Sundance Channel's Park City studio, including an interview with the winning filmmaker from
YouTube's first ever film competition, Project Direct.



Are you a filmmaker determined to brave the elements and head to Park City yourself? Let us know! A contingent of us YouTubers will be pounding the pavement, speaking on panels, watching films and talking to filmmakers, and we'd love to hear from you.



Ready to get started? Check out this classic moment from the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with Mr. Sundance himself, Robert Redford:







Happy film going,



Sara P.


YouTube Film

Posted:
It's been almost a month since the results of Kenya's presidential election sparked protests and riots in the East African country. When sitting President Mwai Kibaki won over opposition leader Raila Odinga, claims of a rigged result sent hundreds of protesters into the street, sparking tribal warfare and governmental crackdowns on protesters. The violence has killed hundreds of Kenyans and displaced over 350,000 citizens. Today, Odinga called for rallies in 42 locations nationwide, leaving many bracing for more violence.



Just a few months before the election, Kenya's largest broadcaster, NTV Kenya, started a YouTube channel to broadcast news from around Kenya. Though Kenya's third-world economy affords less than 1% of its citizens broadband Internet access, NTV Kenya's YouTube presence has become a critical way for the Kenyan diaspora to connect with what's happening back home. The channel already has almost 3,000 subscribers and is one of the top 100 channels viewed in the last month on YouTube. The channel documents the death and violence, but it also broadcasts the efforts of the international community to rescue the nation from internal strife, as demonstrated by this playlist:







A conversation amongst YouTubers -- Kenyans and others -- has developed over the conflict there, and the National Democratic Institute (a global nonprofit that provides election assistance in Kenya and other fledgling democracies) has started a channel that documents the election efforts in Nairobi and beyond. This video of an election line in Starehe shows just how thirsty Kenyans were on December 27, 2007, to cast their votes:







While Kenya's future is uncertain, YouTube remains a window into the challenges the country faces – in other words, you don't need expensive satellite TV to catch the news from the region or footage of the chaos.


Yours,

Steve G.
YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
Wanna perform with the Foo Fighters at one of music's biggest events of the year? We've got a unique opportunity for some talented instrumentalists to become a part of the All-Time Foo Fighters Grammy Orchestra during next month's televised awards broadcast in Los Angeles. Intrigued? The band explains it all to you here:






However, don't delay! The deadline is just about a week away, so be sure to get your entry uploaded by midnight on January 20 -- especially you university students in a marching band or symphony orchestra. This could be your chance to represent your college during this once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you need some last-minute inspiration, check out
these skilled players who have already taken a crack at it.



Good luck,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
In case you hadn't noticed, this is the first presidential election in history in which voters have had the ability to videotape and post footage from the campaign trail and share it easily with others on a mass scale. Today, as voters in New Hampshire go to the polls for their first-in-the-nation primary, citizens from across the U.S. are weighing in on the race through YouTube -- and the discussion is fascinating.



Just like we did with the Des Moines Register in Iowa, we are partnering with a local media outlet, WMUR-TV, in Manchester, NH, to collect voter videos from Granite Staters. The idea is to give those of us who aren't voting today a front row seat to all the action. Here are some of the best videos that have been uploaded so far:







In fact, WMUR-TV is airing many of your videos during their primary news coverage, and their YouTube channel will continue to host videos that give a voter's-eye-view of the New Hampshire primaries all day today and for the rest of the week. You can also study up on the candidates on our You Choose '08 platform.



Yours,

Steve G. aka Citizentube

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
It may be freezing cold in Iowa right now, but that's not stopping voters from bundling up and heading out to caucus for their favorite candidates. This year, for the first time ever, you can join them on YouTube.



Along with Iowa's largest daily newspaper, The Des Moines Register, we're collecting voter videos from caucus-goers to give you a voter's-eye-view of what the caucuses are all about. From analysis to voter interviews to political raps, Iowans are making their voices heard on YouTube. You can watch these videos on the Register's YouTube channel and/or check out some of the best ones we've seen so far here:







And starting today, voters across the state will be uploading footage from the actual caucuses themselves (cameras are allowed inside), so if you've ever bemoaned the early influence of Iowa on the U.S. presidential nomination process, this is your chance to get an inside view of what takes place.



If you're not sure how the caucuses work, you need to go no further than our You Choose '08 platform, where several of the candidates have posted instructional videos on "how to caucus."







As Iowans kick off the nominating process, keep track of everything right here on YouTube -- and stay tuned for the next big political event of the season: the New Hampshire Primaries on Tuesday, January 8.



Yours,

Steve G. aka Citizentube

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
We're happy to ring in 2008 with a full-length concert by Radiohead on our home page; it's a private in-studio performance of the entire album, In Rainbows. This unique video is titled "Scotch Mist (a film with Radiohead in it)" and was taped a few weeks ago at the band's UK studio (and out and about in the neighboring countryside). Not only does it include an intimate rundown of songs from their new album, it tosses in Oxfordshire lad slow-mo antics along with a few animated surprises.






To all those who dare to leap into the new year on a bold note, happy 2008!


Cheers,

Michele K-Tel

YouTube Music

Posted:
With 2008 upon us, it's a great time to participate in this New Year's program, which invites you to make a video answering one of four questions, including revealing what your personal theme will be for 2008. (And while you're there, you can watch a full-length concert from Simple Plan, Talib Kweli and YouTube OntheRise Rap winner Conceit, live from the Highline Ballroom in NYC.)



Many of you -– plus artists like Matchbox Twenty, Lupe Fiasco, Paramore and others -– heeded the call, and your videos now populate our YouTube/Google Maps Mashup. What's more, some of the best submissions will be showcased tonight on the Samsung Jumbotron in Manhattan's Times Square.



For those of you who haven't submitted: you're in luck. Submissions don't end just because 2007 does. You have until January 18 to upload your video and see it on a map with your fellow YouTubers.



So get rolling and have a happy and safe 2008.



Cheers,


The YouTube Team