YouTube gets more social with personalization experiment

New page offers video recommendations, data on friends, YouTube activities to selected users

YouTube this week unveiled an experimental page that will allow a small group of randomly chosen users to receive personalized video recommendations, lists of videos added to friends' pages and other exclusive social features. The company said that it plans to eventually offer the experimental features to all its users.

The program provides the selected users with a new algorithm that creates a list of video recommendations based on past selections and on current and past lists of favorites. In addition, those in the experimental program get a new interface that displays the videos that have just been added to their subscriptions.

The experimental page also includes a "Friend Activity" feature that tells users about updates to their friends' lists of favorite videos. Confirmed friends of users that display favorites, ratings or uploaded videos on their channel will get a feed of those lists when videos are uploaded or added to a list of favorites.

Finally, the experimental site includes a new dashboard with stats about a user's in-box activity and data about total video uploads, total views and the like.

"The goal with all of this is to gauge people's interest in having a YouTube that's tailored to the individual," YouTube noted on its blog. "Ultimately, we want to get you one step closer to the videos you'll enjoy most every time you come to the site. Mashable blogger Kristen Nicole noted that the move puts YouTube "in the realm of what we'd consider a more typically structured social network."

The experimental page gives users a better, centralized way to use YouTube, she added, by putting recommendations, updates from a cross subscriptions and friend activity on one page.

"The editors' picks have worked well on the regular YouTube home page, so I'm sure these personalized recommendations custom tailored for each user will fare well too," she added. "And as most of you subscribe to other users in order to be kept abreast of their new content, the updates for these subscriptions won't be too far from what you already had on YouTube."

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld
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