We already knew about YouTube’s redesign, which tech-savvy readers have been enabling for the past 10 days. As of now, however, the new YouTube is available to everyone.
Unlike parent company Google, which tends to roll out redesigns over a period of days, YouTube pressed the button and switched the homepage for every user worldwide at 4:30 p.m. ET Thursday.
So what’s the change all about? One word: channels. The world’s most popular online video service now sees itself as a descendent of cable TV, with millions of channels rather than hundreds — and it’s doing its darndest to encourage you to use it that way.
The first new thing you’ll see is an “add channels” button in the top left-hand corner of the page. Under that you’ll find your top 10 favorite channels, which you can “pin” to the top of the page.
“The future of the YouTube experience has channels at the center of it,” says Margaret Stewart, director of User Experience at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California. “It’s a container for all the world’s video, and it needs to be the best home for that.”
YouTube is also tweaking the colors of its logo and adding a soft gray background to the videos. In a sign that the service is becoming more integrated with its parent company — and that more employees are going back and forth between San Bruno and the Googleplex in Mountain View — Stewart says the redesign includes “subtle alignments with Google’s visual style.”
Part of that process, naturally, includes integration with the Google+ social network. But YouTube is also making it easier to post videos on Facebook and Twitter, too. And the channel change also came to YouTube apps on platforms other than the web. For example, it just became a lot easier to access YouTube channels on your Xbox.
There are four new channel templates that content creators can use, including one template designed for networks (with prominent featured content) and one for bloggers (with the most recent content first). Executives and designers at the company emphasize that this just the beginning of the redesign; more channel-focused changes and channel templates are coming soon.
Read up on the new YouTube user manual, and let us know in the comments: Has the strategy worked? Will this make you use YouTube channels more?