Category Archives: video

From Sleeping in a ‘Van Down By the River’ to Presenting At Google I/O: Lessons from Original Skateboards

As a part of my job I frequently meet with amazing startups as well as established, and highly successful businesses. What continues to amaze me is that leveraging the 1B YouTube users as a part of their strategy often comes as an afterthought. In fact, sometimes even folks who target YouTube users with their product fail to establish presence on the very platform they’re trying to address.

While text and photos are cool, video is the most powerful medium out there. If you have been hiding under a rock, now would be a good time to shake off the 90s and take advantage of what 21st century has to offer. In fact, a great way to start is by watching this Google I/O 2013 presentation by AJ Crane and Lane Shackleton from YouTube, and Scott Imbrie from Original Skateboards.

There are a few key things you will learn:

  1. The difference between content and commercials
  2. How to brand your YouTube presence in the new multi-device world we’re living in
  3. How to use AdWords for Video to promote your content
  4. How InVideo programming helps with cross-promotion
  5. How to grow and nurture your YouTube community
You will also witness a makeover of a popular (500k subs, >100M views) YouTube channel performed in front of a live audience and more.
Last but not least, you will discover what the title of this post is all about 🙂


My Unofficial Video Enthusiasts’ Guide to Google I/O 2013

If you are coming to Google I/O 2013 you can spend the entire show learning about nothing else but video. YouTube has and entire track this year, and all three days of I/O are full of video goodness. Day 1 (Wed) and Day 2 (Th) are jam-packed with YouTube sessions. Day 3 (Fri) features two YouTube API codelabs.

This year we have two categories of sessions:

  • YouTube API-specific sessions
  • General knowledge-sharing sessions for anyone who loves video

While the former is something expected at I/O, I am particularly proud of the latter since it is great to give back. Here’s the list of sessions that belong to the “general knowledge sharing” category:

  1. Demystifying Video Encoding: WebM/VP8 for the Rest of Us
  2. Secrets of Video Stabilization on YouTube
  3. Designing Products for a Multi-screen World: The YouTube Perspective
  4. Adaptive Streaming for You and YouTube
  5. Semantic Video Annotations in the YouTube Topics API: Theory and Applications
  6. WebM and the New VP9 Open Video Codec
You can find the complete list of YouTube sessions here.


In the YouTube API Sandbox we will feature seven companies showing innovative apps for all three days of I/O. All of them will have fun demos but if you are short on time don’t miss the following three:
  1. Epson’s immersive video experience
  2. Media Studio’s tools + marketplace product for video creators
  3. Woowa Brothers (배달의 민족) which is an amazing S. Korean company which makes take-out ordering fun
Woowa Brothers (배달의 민족)

Hope Woowa Brothers (배달의 민족) will come to the US one day!

On the last day of I/O (Friday) get your hands on some of our latest APIs with the help of YouTube engineers at two codelabs:
  1. YouTube Anywhere – Using the YouTube API on Phones, Tablets and GoogleTV – where you will learn how to build an Android app using the YouTube Android Player and YouTube Data APIs.
  2. Mashing Up Videos with the YouTube and the Freebase Knowledge Graph APIs – which will teach you how to use the Freebase API with the YouTube Topics API to build fun and smart apps leveraging the Knowledge Graph.
Last but not least, if you are interested in Gaming check out the session by yours truly and Corey Johnson from Unity, the leading game engine developer: Super-Charge Your Mobile Game with YouTube. We will show you how you can incorporate video uploads and in-game video playback into a sample video game Amir Ebrahimi and I built last year.


Have a great I/O! And if you are not coming this year worry not, all of the sessions will be recoded and published on YouTube.


Embedding lots of videos on one page

You may have noticed that sites with lots of video embeds on the same page may suffer from performance issues due to player load overhead. My colleagues Greg Schechter and Phil Harnish suggested not loading the player at all to handle this use case, you can find more info in the GDD talk entitled HTML5, Flash and the Battle for Faster YouTube Cat Videos.

After Pamela Fox asked me about this issue today I decided to prototype a simple example of how a workaround might work. You’ll find the code here. It loads thumbnails and replaces them with the YouTube iframe player upon click. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Full Screen YouTube Playback in Flash: youtube-as3-player-helper

My YouTube colleague Mykola Dzuba put together a nice example of building your own YouTube Flash player using our AS3 chromeless player API called youtube-as3-player-helper.  One of the interesting features available to Flash player developers is full screen playback. Here is an example of how it works.

You will find the code in the fullscreen sub- directory on

Video Hack Day YouTube API Winners

someone who writes graffiti
source: Urban Dictionary
Overall the Oct 1st event went quite well, though I think it would be nice to get more ‘designer/videograhper types’ next time as the crowd was very developer-heavy. We have a long way to go to make these types of events for video mainstream rather than niche it is today.
YouBomber – voice and graphical video annotations editor by Tom Saffell (co-founder, . Main prize winner overall and winner of the YouTube API prize. The user can play a YouTube video, draw and talk-over it, stop and resume playback. Upon replay, all of that (including voiceover) is nicely replayed. The overall experience almost matches a CSI show, where the ‘bad guy’ is typically identified by the investigator viewing a close circuit television footage 🙂 Very cool hack, though totally non compliant with YouTube’s ToS (since we don’t allow painting over the player area :-/).

YouBomber Demo:

Ragatzi – by Semira Rahemtulla (CEO and Co-founder) and team Ragatzi. YouTube API prize winner. Using YouTube API, TokBox (video chat), RoR back-end, JavaScript front-end. Designed to keep distributed families closer, it handles the ‘bedtime story’ use case where a remote family member is reading a book or watching together a video with a child. 

Ragatzi Demo:

Music Explorer – by Carl Rosenberg and Alex Kalinin from,  YouTube API prize winner. Uses Rovi API and YouTube API to help one discover and listen to new music. Allows for browsing of related artists to find similar performers of the same genre.

Music Explorer Demo:

Another interesting app was Movie Fightz, a fun iPad app which lets one compare two movies, using data from Rotten Tomatoes API and YouTube API. Screencast here.

Movie Figtz –

Random Photos

Demo Session

Delicious Kung-Fu Tacos Truck