Introducing YouTube Annotations and the Interactive Card Trick

YouTube just rolled out some new toys. Right now you can see them by going to the YouTube homepage. They include an address book of your YouTube friends, an updated Inbox, and YouTubeMobile. But two of the new features, YouTube Annotations and YouTube Insight, are worth talking more about.

My favorite (and I’m sure will be the most talked about) are the You Tube Video Annotations. Now you can take videos or pictures and simply insert comments, or better yet- links to other YouTube videos or channels. And YouTube gives you three methods to insert the comments: a speech bubble, a spotlight, and a note. YouTube made a series of videos to explain how to use them, and we made a series of videos to experiment.

This is such a great way to make internet video even more interactive, and with YouTube making it so easy, it’s bound to be a viral sensation. It’s still in beta, so of course there are some drawbacks at the moment. The biggest is that you lose the annotations when you embed the video on an outside site (but they say this will change). Also, the videos can be kind of aggravating to watch because there is a lot of buffering even with a high bandwidth. There are some problems if you place a comment in a very specific place, because they tend to shift and move around a little when published (as you will probably find on our experimental videos). But for the most part, the application of the annotations seems to be simple and almost glitch free. (Because I can’t embed the videos with annotations in this post, click on the following links to see some of YouTube’s featured videos: Interactive Card Trick, How to Use Video Annotations, and Interactive Shell Game.)

The other feature that launched in February but YouTube is now promoting is YouTube Insight, or Google Analytics for your videos. These easy to read charts straight off Google Analytics will make YouTube more interesting for individuals, but could be very valuable for companies or people wanting more ROI for their videos.

Just one more car on the social media highway and I’m pretty pumped about it. Have you made an annotated video or watched one that was especially great? Share it with me and I’ll leave you a link!

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