YouTube introducing new channel cards, improved notifications, creator forum, more

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Amongst those who regularly publish content to YouTube, the video site is known for picking favorites and being a black box in terms of the communication it holds with the community when it comes to anyone other than the site’s biggest stars. The company has as of late been trying to change that perception, though, by using the YouTube Creators channel as an outlet to recognize and acknowledge the feedback and concerns of its users. Today it published a new video outlining changes and new features coming soon to the video platform.

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YouTube and Halfbrick Studios partner to create an animated Fruit Ninja series

Halfbrick Studios announced today that it is teaming up with YouTube to produce a new series of animated shorts centered around the characters from their hit game Fruit Ninja. The studio already has a number of clips on the video channel including trailers and gameplay clips, but says the Fruit Ninja animated series will be aimed at children age 6-10 with the YouTube Kids app in mind… Read more

Google is taking applications for creators to test the Jump virtual reality rig

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Project Jump is Google’s committal to making virtual reality go mainstream by making it cheaper and easier for anyone to produce VR video, and as reported by TechCrunch it’s going to let a lucky few take a Jump rig for a spin this summer. The company has a form up where interested creators can explain why they deserve to be one of the lucky few – it’s two pages long with some basic biographical questions and an essay section.

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YouTube launches Newswire and related initiatives to verify news video and promote human rights

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Recognizing the high-profile role that ‘citizen journalist’ video can play in news stories, YouTube has announced YouTube Newswire, a curated feed of eyewitness videos which have been confirmed as genuine.

In partnership with Storyful, a social news agency we’ve worked with since protests broke out in Tahrir Square in 2011, we’re rolling out the YouTube Newswire, a curated feed of the most newsworthy eyewitness videos of the day, which have been verified by Storyful’s team of editors and are embeddable from the original sources.

The initiative is supported by The First Draft Coalition to provide materials which help journalists and others verify eyewitness media and consider the ethical implications of using it in reporting. A full website will follow, but YouTube has kicked things off with a collection of blog pieces on Medium …  Read more

Google being sued over video compression technology used in H.264 and VP8 standards

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No, we’re not talking about Pied Piper here: Google is being sued by Max Sound Corporation over patented technology which allows for “far more economically efficient transport of digital content due to greatly optimized data capacity.”

The District Court of Mannheim in Germany has scheduled a December 8th hearing for the video streaming patent case against Google and YouTube, which was filed this past December. The whole case will be heard that day and a decision is expected to be brought down a few weeks later.

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Videos supporting 8K resolution starting to appear on YouTube

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Update: Google responded to our request for comment by saying that 8K video has been supported since 2010, but that labeling for 8K video (the 4320p/8K quality setting like pictured above) was added “earlier this year.” We’re not sure how long ago they really mean, but a simple search on Reddit shows threads about the new label surfacing just over the past few days (Marques Brownlee also noticed it today), so there’s reason to believe it was a recent change.

It may seem a bit excessive to most of us, but it seems that playback of 4320p, 8K video is now possible on YouTube. The playback works in Chrome (although most consumers can barely play 4K at 60fps as it is), but YouTube doesn’t have any official announcement yet mentioning 8K video playback support…

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Google says that larger-screened devices are helping the mobile ad business

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While Google’s ad business is definitely in a transition phase, largely due to the shift away from personal computers towards mobile handsets, Google’s Senior Vice President of Ads & Commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy says that the company is handling this move well. Selling ads to advertisers may be harder with more of those ads ending up on mobile devices with smaller screens than notebooks and desktops, meaning more difficulty for customers to complete purchases, but Google is definitely taking steps toward slowing the rapid decline in ad prices.

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, while Google is making several moves to make advertising more valuable, the market’s more recent move to larger-screened devices has helped significantly… Read more

YouTube Kids app contains “disturbing and/or potentially harmful” content, alleges FTC complaint

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Google’s family-friendly YouTube Kids app has been hit with a second complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, this time accusing it of containing inappropriate content, including sexually-explicit language and “jokes about pedophilia.” This follows a complaint last month that the app was “deceptive to children” in the way it mixed ads into the programming.

The WSJ reports that the complaint was sent by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy.

Examples of what the non-profit groups found include: explicit sexual language in cartoons; jokes about pedophilia and drug use; activities such as juggling knives, tasting battery acid, and making a noose; and adult discussions about family violence, pornography, and child suicide.

The group created a video (below) illustrating the inappropriate content found …  Read more