Five years after introducing the feature, Google makes HTML5 default on YouTube

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Google has announced today, five years after introducing a test version of the feature, that HTML5 video on YouTube is now the default setting for video playback. Before today, Adobe Flash was used for playing YouTube videos, and users needed to go to YouTube.com/HTML5 (pictured above) to toggle the HTML5 player (if your browser supported it).

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YouTube will produce its own Super Bowl halftime show featuring popular video producers

Harley Morenstein will host YouTube's Super Bowl halftime show

Harley Morenstein will host YouTube’s Super Bowl halftime show

YouTube is typically the place people go to find their favorite Super Bowl ads before and after the game, but the video streaming service wants to serve an even larger purpose this year. According to the official YouTube blog, the site is planning to produce its own halftime show to stream during the game on February 1st.

The event will be hosted by EpicMealTime’s Harley Morenstein and feature content from top YouTube stars. YouTube specifically lists Freddie Wong, Toby Turner, and duo Rhett & Link as producers who will participate, along with others. Some of the acts will include stunts, musical performances, and comedy sketeches setup as fake Super Bowl ads.

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HTC says YouTube live streaming is coming to RE camera tomorrow

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HTC has announced today that users of its RE camera will be able to live stream video to YouTube starting tomorrow. The company originally announced this feature when the GoPro-like RE camera accessary was unveiled back in October. Today, however, the company finally confirmed a hard release date for the feature.

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YouTube says support for 360-degree videos will roll out ‘in the coming weeks’

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YouTube has confirmed that it will be enabling support for 360-degree video uploads in the near future, Engadget reported today. While no information was given as to how the feature would be implemented or how video playback would be supported, Google did say that users can expect to see the capability rolling out “in the coming weeks.”

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YouTube unveils experimental new GIF maker, currently in testing on PBS Idea Channel

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YouTube has just released a new GIF-making tool in testing on PBS’s Idea Channel. The tool is available under the share menu and allows users to pick a five-second clip from the video, add two lines of text, and export the file to their computer.

The frame rate of the output isn’t quite buttery smooth, and the inability to pick a longer section of video can be a little annoying, but the tool seems very usable in its first version. Google hasn’t said when this feature will roll out to the rest of YouTube.

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YouTube begins rolling out offline video playback to Android devices in three countries

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Google announced today that it has started rolling out support for offline video playback in the YouTube Android app for three countries: India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The company says that the goal is to help work around limited access to high-speed internet connections.

The new mode will allow many videos to be cached directly on the phone for up to 48 hours in order to be played back later. Users will have the option of selecting what resolution they’d like to cache to make the process as efficient as possible.

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YouTube Rewind 2014 is live featuring Pharrell Williams, Frozen, Ice Bucket Challenge, more

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In recent years YouTube has started a new tradition of uploading a video covering all of the most popular videos to hit the service during the calendar year. The 2014 edition of #YouTubeRewind is now live featuring many viral hits of the year, like Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, references to trends like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and, of course, plenty of “Let it Go” among many other hit songs…

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Facebook pages sharing less YouTube videos, uploading more video direct to site

Facebook Video

While YouTube remains the gold standard for uploading videos online, a new study finds that its presence on Facebook is increasingly declining as page owners opt to upload more video directly to the social network over sharing YouTube embeds. The latest research from social media analytics company Socialbakers reveal that, in November, the number of Facebook videos uploaded directly to the site overtook the number of YouTube videos on Facebook for the first time ever. Read more

YouTube Audio Library can now be searched for ad-supported music

YouTube Audio Library

When a content creator uploads a video to YouTube with music, an automated system called Content ID automatically matches the clip against an extensive database to see if the audio is permitted or infringes copyright. Yet, until now, it was impossible for a YouTube creator to know whether a specific track was allowed or not until after uploading a video. Read more

YouTube stars being offered retention bonuses in face of offers from Facebook & others

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YouTube style star Michelle Phan, whose videos have 3.6M views

Top YouTube video creators are being offered bonuses in return for multi-year exclusivity deals in which they guarantee to post content on YouTube first, reports the WSJ.

Facebook Inc. and video startup Vessel, among others, have tried to lure YouTube creators to their services in recent months, according to people familiar with the discussions.

In response, Google is offering some of its top video makers bonuses to sign multiyear deals in which they agree to post content exclusively on YouTube for a time before putting it on a rival service.

YouTube is reportedly particularly concerned about subscription video startup Vessel, founded by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar …  Read more