Engineering and Developers Blog
What's happening with engineering and developers at YouTube
ShortForm: Mix and Share the World's Videos
Thursday, April 28, 2011
, Lead Developer at
(Cross-posted from the
blog, where it is a part of
Who's at Google I/O
, a series of guest blog posts written by developers who are appearing in the
is a new entertainment medium where you find continuous channels of the best videos, curated by a growing community of VJs. At ShortForm you can be a viewer, a VJ, or both. Viewers subscribe to channels of interest, lean back, and enjoy a continuous stream of videos. VJs mix and share the world’s best videos into continuous channels.
The developers at ShortForm worked with various
YouTube Data APIs
in order to deliver both the Viewer and VJ experience.
Standard Feeds and User Playlists:
ShortForm makes it easy and fun for anyone to VJ a channel. We also auto-curate a select set of channels to surface mainstream content that would appeal to most audiences. For example, our
channel includes content from the standard YouTube video feeds such as Top Rated, Most Viewed and Most Popular. ShortForm developed a system for retrieving video entries and their associated metadata, and then ordering them in playlists based on a ranking algorithm.
Favorites and Uploads:
ShortForm allows VJs to import their YouTube favorites and uploads into their channels quickly and easily by authenticating via YouTube’s OAuth provider. Once a user has connected their ShortForm account to their YouTube account, we are able to allow them to import their favorites and uploads through an authenticated call to the
YouTube Data API
. In the future we will streamline the process of uploading videos to YouTube by allowing VJs to upload videos to YouTube directly from ShortForm while adding those videos to their ShortForm channel in the same flow.
Providing a seamless channel viewing experience on ShortForm requires that we integrate tightly with
to the ActionScript 3 player. This allows us to properly handle video events to ensure continuous playback. Users have full control over their viewing experience using the next and previous video buttons, which load videos into the YouTube player. We have also begun integrating with the new
interface that is currently in beta and have seen promising results in our initial tests across desktop and mobile platforms.
Tablet computing represents an exciting opportunity for ShortForm to provide a first class viewing experience in a new package. We have begun testing and looking for places to optimize the viewing experience on tablet devices.
Our embeddable widget syntax was inspired by YouTube’s
. We believe this is the simplest, most flexible and most powerful way to allow our users to embed their channels anywhere on the web.
We are thrilled to be a part of Google I/O and in order to demonstrate the power of ShortForm, we are putting together a Google I/O Sandbox channel, a continuous channel of product pitches and demos from companies represented in the
I/O Developer Sandbox
. We invite all Sandbox companies to submit a video of their product pitch or demo. Details can be found at the
ShortForm at Google I/O
page. Well use the channel to preview cool companies in the Sandbox before the conference. The channel will also provide media members with a summary of all the technology from all sandbox companies.
Lastly, we are going to have a little fun and invite all attendees to vote on their favorite pitches and demos. Submit your video on the
ShortForm at Google I/O
page. We’ll surface a leaderboard showing videos with the top votes, and the winning entry will be highlighted in a press release and will get prime placement on ShortForm’s homepage for one week, reaching hundreds of thousands of people.
Come see ShortForm in the
on May 10-11.
As a founding member of ShortForm Jereme has been hacking around with the YouTube APIs for over a year now and has been building software for 15 years. When he’s not coding he’s probably trail running or roasting his own coffee while eagerly anticipating the arrival of his first child in June!
Man vs. Machine: Curating with YouTube APIs
Monday, April 4, 2011
If you are reading this, chances are you are building an app which includes video. Given that over
of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, finding the best of it can be challenging. In this post we’ll discuss some interesting approaches and illustrate them with applications recently submitted to our
YouTube API Project Gallery
Use the feed
To get started quickly, API developers will find that using
is a great way to find content. In case you have not noticed, we have added two new experimental feeds: “
” and “
”. They provide more of a real-time pulse of YouTube and expose some of the functionality behind
so that it can be accessed programmatically.
While standard feeds provide a convenient mechanism, content curation around common narratives calls for more complex apps. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
are two interesting applications addressing different aspects of creating a social media narrative around a story (the former) or chronologically-organized series of life experiences (the latter).
History of Jazz
is a good example of a mobile app using YouTube built around the concept of curation. The application uses iOS video playback techniques described in our earlier
on the topic and is a great learning tool for those of us who like to discover new music.
is a curation platform for video DJs (VJs), where users can organize interesting content for their viewers to enjoy across a wide range of topics. And yes, you too can be a VJ!
Searching for a deeper meaning with semantic analysis
The apps presented in the previous section focus on empowering users to organize content. Another approach worth highlighting is a hybrid of curator’s selections and related content recommended by an algorithm. To achieve this,
, a non-profit committed to improving the world with storytelling, utilizes semantic analysis. As shown in the screen shot below, top-level categories are decided upon (or “bootstrapped”) by curators, however, while navigating the site users are presented with automated recommendations as well.
Wow, how did they do that?
To learn more about these applications, check out the
. Additionally, some of these developers made more information available about their API experience so we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight it as well. Memolane put together a blog post about their usage of YouTube API, which you can read
. Shortform also blogged about their use case; follow
link to learn more. If you would like to understand how ViewChange integrated semantic processing in their video site, you can find their blog post about the topic
As always, if you have an interesting YouTube API project you would like to share with the developer community, please
it to the gallery. We would love to hear from you.
—Jarek Wilkiewicz, YouTube API Team
 At the time of this writing Storify was still in Beta, but we have arranged for a special invite code for our readers. Use
and you’ll be able to create your own stories.
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