Slideshow Predation on YouTube

If you’ve been to youtube lately (or… ever), you have probably noticed evidence of the over-population of Windows Movie Maker users, eager to show off their madskills at generating white text on a blue background with their favorite to 90’s track pumping. Advanced users will also add real, full-color photographs with transitions such as wipe and crossfades.

For people who are playing with video editing software for the first time, this is great. They can throw something together and upload it to YouTube in a few minutes, and gain some sense of accomplishment without having to do anything overly technical.

For people who are on YouTube looking for an actual video (which I assume is all or most users), this is just awful. I’ll go out on a limb and assume that most people searching for something on YouTube are not overly critical, they will tolerate mediocre-quality video and amateurish production – that is the whole appeal, but it is fair to assume that these people are, at the very least, looking for video. Not slideshows.

And you can’t blame the MovieMakers. Making slideshows is easy, and fun. But what I cannot fathom is how YouTube has fostered the growth of this truly unwelcome phenomena on their service. If I am searching for an eagle attacking a wolf, I would expect, at the very least, to see an eagle attacking a wolf, not a handfull of photographs someone found of the same, with a cheezy hip-hop midi in the background.

Considering all of the energy Google has devoted to identifying copyright-protected content in YouTube, you would think they could use some of that same mojo for at least identifying what content is actually a video. How many “videos” for example, are there out there, that are just a still image with a full-length copyright song? Come on!

The technology required to identify slideshows and still images is pretty basic. This could be implemented where the user uploads a video. They could tick off a radio button that identifies the content as “full motion video” or “slideshow”. Viewers could also flag content as a slideshow when the creator does not. And furthermore, the video itself could be analyzed, either when it is uploaded, or on a random / periodic basis, to determine if there is motion from one frame to the next. Really, there is no excuse for them to leave all these slideshows “in the soup” of a site intended for video.

All it takes is a little “Mark as slideshow” link, like this:


Category: Interface Design, Rants, Service, Software, Video Comments Off on Slideshow Predation on YouTube

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