YouTube Trumpets "Sophisticated" Usage of its Interactive Video Annotations Service

Choose A Different Ending: start

--In Year Since Launch, Service Has Been Used to Create Interactive Narratives, Games, Menus and More

In a posting on its corporate blog, Monday, YouTube noted that its Interactive Video Annotations service--a set of tools that allow users to add text and hyperlinks directly onto their videos--is now one year old. According to the company, the service has since its summer, 2008 launch been "put to use with increasing sophistication" in order to, among other things:

  • Provide dynamic commentary. "Basically," YouTube explains, "this means placing a layer of comments on a video: things like director comments, pet dubbing clips, and how-to tips for everything from origami to guitar lessons."
  • Add interactive links and menus, directing traffic to other videos and creating spatial video menus.
  • Create branching storylines, presenting viewers, YouTube says, with "a collection of videos organized in a hierarchical structure as a new format of storytelling." Branching storylines have been used to create, among other things, interactive advertisements, murder mysteries and dating tips.
  • Create interactive games and entertainments, including spot the difference, break-dance competitions and an ad agency home page that is actually a YouTube interactive video.

YouTube's blog posting also highlighted 1) an Annotations-powered interactive video, entitled "Choose a Different Ending," which lets viewers control its lead character's actions and which was commissioned by London's Metropolitan Police to serve as "a powerful tool in helping youngsters cope with some of the tough decisions they are faced growing up in a violent environment"; and 2) a user-generated tutorial on Annotations, entitled "Annotations Man."

"We really find it hard to imagine that all this happened in just one year, and can't wait to see how you might knock us out in 2010," YouTube's blog posting (authored by software engineer, Mike Fink) concludes. "So go ahead and choose your own ending."

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