YouTube is offering the beta version of Leanback, a service that offers up videos in a continuous stream. Bringing a television-style experience to the Web seems to be a focus of Google, which also recently announced Google TV, which will integrate traditional television content with Web services and applications.
YouTube is now offering a beta version of Leanback, a
previously announced service that automatically plays videos in a continuous
stream, providing visitors with a television-style experience. Videos in the
endless stream are chosen based on the user's YouTube settings and preferences,
such as their subscription content.
"Just as the name implies, YouTube Leanback is all about
letting you sit back, relax and be entertained," Kuan Yong, a senior product
manager for YouTube, wrote
in a July 7 posting on the Official YouTube Blog
. "Videos tailored to your
interests play as soon as you visit the site and they play in full screen and
high definition, continuously." Users can tap their keyboard's right arrow key
to skip past a particular video, or the up/down arrows to search or access
With Leanback, Yong added, "watching YouTube becomes as easy
as watching TV." The service is now available via this YouTube site
; if one's YouTube
account is connected to a Facebook account, then videos being shared by friends
on the social network will be integrated into the Leanback feed.
Bringing a television-style experience to the Web seems to
be a prime concern of Google, which
announced Google TV during the Google I/O developer conference May 20
Google TV is based on the Android 2.1 mobile operating system, and leverages
Google's Chrome Web browser-with support for Adobe Systems' Flash 10.1-to
integrate a blend of online content, such as Netflix and favorite Websites,
into consumers' usual television programming.
Other major companies-including Apple and Microsoft-have
launched initiatives over the past few years to integrate the Web more
completely with television, but these efforts have generally met with limited
success. Google evidently hopes that consumers will see its offering as the
best of both worlds-the versatility of Web search and applications, combined
with the mental comfort food of traditional television, and all of it on the
During the conference, Google indicated that it expects more
than 180,000 Android developers to create applications for Google TV, which
will be integrated into Sony televisions and Blu-ray players and Logitech
companion boxes. Equipped with WiFi and Ethernet, and capable of connecting to
satellite and cable boxes through HDMI cables, the hardware will be sold through
Best Buy starting this fall-although price points are not yet available.
has undergone other improvements in recent days
, including an updated
version of its mobile site that provides users with a more streamlined and
speedier interface for watching video while on the go. In addition to larger
touch-friendly screen elements, the new features include the ability to create
playlists, designate favored videos and receive search query suggestions. By
May 2010, five years after its initial launch, YouTube played host to some 2
billion video views per day, with 24 hours' worth of video uploaded per minute.