Not all computers are created equally and not all connection speeds offer the same experience. Which is why companies are now realizing they need to be inclusive and cater for the majority rather than the minority of people. YouTube ‘Feather’ is one such effort.
Keeping Up With The Joneses
Computers have been getting more and more powerful and Internet connection speeds have been increasing in speed as well. However, Web sites have continually stayed ahead of the curve, offering more graphic-heavy and slow-loading pages to tax even the newest machines.
So, while the Web of today would be unrecognizable to someone from 1998, the same problems of connection speed and buffering exist as they did back then.
Which is why some sites are now trying to cut down on clutter and offer users a more streamlined experience. Enter YouTube ‘Feather’.
‘Feather’ is the codename for one of Google’s latest YouTube innovations. It’s currently part of TestTube, YouTube’s “ideas incubator” where engineers slowly test new ideas to see if they work and will be worth rolling out to a wider audience.
‘Feather’ changes the YouTube video player in a number of ways:
- Video playback is defaulted to standard definition rather than high quality or high definition.
- The extra controls such as the size and color of video embedding are removed.
- The number of comments is reduced to just 10, with no voting or responses possible.
- Video replies, sharing options, and search facilities also get cut.
- The number of related videos is reduced from the usual 21 to just five.
Overall, it means the video is played more quickly, with less chance of buffering slowing down proceedings, and less extraneous features most of us don’t need and don’t use.
Check ‘Feather’ out for yourself by signing up for the beta.
The effort to reduce loading times and frustration for users not equipped with the latest system or fastest Web connection is widespread. Google itself is already making similar amends to its homepage, while Facebook has been endeavoring to introduce a ‘Lite’ version for a while.
Video seems like the last bastion of the trend to continually make increasing demands on people’s computers. When in fact online video should be at the forefront of reducing the number of people unable to visit certain sites on the Web.
YouTube ‘Feather’ will hopefully get a wider roll out in months to come and mean everyone gets to watch videos on YouTube, regardless of budget or location.
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