You might have noticed that YouTube's been getting a lot more social lately. We've launched several features in the last few months that let you better connect with the platforms that matter most to you (and discover new videos you're likely to love in the process). In addition to linking your YouTube account to social networks like Twitter and Facebook via AutoShare, friend suggestions and easier private sharing options, you can easily find the YouTube accounts belonging to your friends on Facebook, Yahoo! and Gmail. Then, once you've subscribed to someone, you might start seeing their public actions (things like favorites, ratings and comments) in your Recent Activity module on your homepage (assuming they've set these preferences).

This week we've added another launch to the "social feature" list: a feed that pushes the YouTube videos your friends are embedding on Facebook back to your YouTube homepage. This feature is in test mode right now, but there is a way for you to experiment with it while it's being worked on: visit this page and connect to Facebook in the area that says "Where do I share my activities?" (If you've already hooked this up, you may need to disconnect and reconnect accounts to enable.) You can choose to "Disable AutoShare" right afterwards if you don't want your YouTube actions to be syndicated out to Facebook. But if you do want your YouTube-related Facebook activity to be syndicated back to YouTube, the key is that you just stay connected to Facebook. Alternatively, you can search for your friends using the friend finding module on the homepage, and that will also connect you to Facebook. Once hooked up, it might take a little while for videos to start appearing on your homepage during this experimental phase.

We see the YouTube homepage as only the start of your video journey. It's where you should be able to get a snapshot of the "YouTube Zeitgeist" at any moment -- that is, those videos that are most relevant to you and to the times. Sometimes those videos are served up by algorithms that offer recommendations based on your viewing history or the channels you're subscribed to. By adding the videos your friends are embedding on Facebook into the mix, we're hoping to close a loop with regards to how videos are shared and consumed these days. Take a look at these stats to see just how much YouTube content is viewed off the site:
  • Facebook: 46.2 years of videos watched a day
  • Orkut: 12.7 years of videos watched a day
  • MySpace: 5.6 years of videos watched a day
  • Hi5: 1.2 of years of videos watched a day
Pretty amazing, right? These kinds of numbers underscore the need for us to more tightly integrate social platforms with YouTube, because at the end of the day, we hope YouTube becomes your portal to video on the Web, particularly the social Web that has become so integral to our lives.

Chris Testa, Software Engineer, recently watched "I'm Yours(ukulele)," which his friend Jason posted into his Recent Activity via Facebook.