Yes, you heard correctly; Cosmic Panda. Since the dawn of YouTube back in February 2005 it has remained the white and red web page we’ve known to love. But as we all know, the web wouldn’t be the web if it wasn’t for constant updates, upgrades, patches, modifications and new product developments.
Cosmic Panda is the next step for YouTube in a complete site overhaul. Changing not only the way the site looks, but the way the site works. This is a long awaited update with many of the sites biggest fanboys claiming the old site is well overdue a true “web 2.0″ update.
In the words of YouTube themselves:
We’re always trying out new things here at the Tube and Cosmic Panda is our way of letting you in on some of the fun.
Here’s what to expect when you follow the cosmic panda over the double rainbow:
- A new experience for watching videos and playlists
- More page designs and better editing tools to customize your channel
- Keep watching when moving between videos, playlists, and channels (Chrome only)
- Stylish new look and feel
Now that’s enough jibba jabba. Lets get stuck in and try out Cosmic Panda for ourselves.
First Impressions Count
Damn right they do, no matter what anybody tells you and the ‘new’ YouTube doesn’t disappoint. Cosmic Panda looks sleek, stylish and modern – with a new black section of the screen in which the video is embedded, the video really stand out and looks great. The page looks cleaner and feels less distracting but without losing any of the previous functionality. What’s more is the added feature providing the option to quickly change the video player size on the fly. As for the player – well it stays pretty much the same except taking on a super cool black look.
Keep it rolling!
Finally YouTube’s Cosmic Panda allows you to browse a YouTuber’s channel, information, related videos and other features without navigating away from the video content. The video is shifted up to the top section of the page and continues to play within a thumbnail with the option to switch back to watching the video with just another mouse click. I would also like to add that this is seamless and smooth, without any jolting or page loads required in between.
As silly as it may seem, a large portion of people don’t see YouTube as a Social Network. I find that strange, if anything YouTube is quite possibly THE most social of all of the platforms available – it just seems there is a greater deal of negative and anonymous commenting (trolling?) than on other social websites. That said, YouTube are finally working on the comments section – a part of YouTube that has always been very antiquated. Finally, they have fully integrated their ‘threaded’ comments style making it a whole lot easier to see comments section conversational dialogue. You’ll also notice in the image below how much larger and ‘in your face’ the suggested video section is. I can imagine this being YouTube’s strong attempt at increasing the all important ‘time on site’ of each visitor – it also looks great!
Channels take on a brand new look with the users uploaded videos being the centre of attention all the way down the page. Cosmic Panda allows users to customise the way their channel looks using the new ‘template’ functions. This modifies the way the channel looks and displays information. Currently, the four different templates include:
A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists
A reverse chronological vlogroll of a featured playlist or your recent activity
A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured channels
A featured video from a playlist with a group of featured playlists and channels
The screen grab below shows a Channel using othe ‘Blogger’ template. You’ll also notice a ‘play all’ button at the top. this will load all of the users uploaded video into a playlist for sequential play.
Talking of Playlists I expect you’re wondering if they have got rid of that horrible playlist bar which plagued so many people festering at the bottom of the page? You betcha’! The playlist now sits comftably beneath the currently playing video (phew) and does not distract or annoy.
Following on from the social aspects I mentioned earlier, the community section on channels displays a feed of recent user activity including comments, likes, subscribes etc. as well as the option to post bulletins as before. This is surely set to encourage social interactivity.
That sums it up
Almost Everything else stays the same or currently has not been modified enough to make it noteworthy. Video browse section stays pretty much the same, inbox still seams clunky as always, search isn’t noticeably different and subscription feed looks exactly the same.
Oh, I almost forgot…(save the best till last)
One last thing…which seems to be quite big and clever. YouTube Video Editor
This is some seriously impressive stuff. Yeah, okay – for the advanced video editors out there its not going to be much use. But what this clever little thing is capable of really blows my mind.
Using your own uploaded video content, video available under creative commons license and music provided by YouTube under license – you can remix, reproduce and republish videos in seconds.
Not only that, but this cloud based editing suit offers effects such as video stablisation, contrast, brightness and black and white.
As I mentioned earlier – for the advanced video editors of us out there, this wont be of much use. But for the millions who cant afford a video editing package or dont have the time / inclination to learn their way around such software; YouTube video editors opens up to anyone the ability to create acceptable quality video and publish it in real time.
Try it for yourself