Category Archives: youtube

10 Years at Google

I joined Google on May 10th, 2010 and got this plaque to commemorate my 10th anniversary.

10 years at Google

10 Years at Google

The company has grown and changed a lot over the years. In some ways I feel that Google is a different company every year. Always evolving rapidly, every system continuously improving or … deprecated and rewritten.

At the same time the core has remained constant. The bottom-up nature of innovation while frustrating (“why can’t we simply ask the VP to mandate X?”) is extremely empowering. The values still strong: while the company does stumble occasionally (we are not perfect), I strongly believe it is fundamentally a force of good in the world which is very important to me personally and makes me proud to be here. I agree with Peter Drucker (thank you Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley for introducing me to his writings): businesses need to deliver way more than return on investment, and Google always strives to do that.

Most importantly, the people I had the privilege to work with at YouTube, Google Search and now Google AI / Google Research have been inspirational and continue to reinforce my impostor syndrome daily 🙂 Same applies to Google partners and external collaborators I met along the way: you have helped me grow for which I am grateful. I hope that together we will overcome these uncertain times.

A New Chapter

Today was my last day at YouTube. After 3.5+ years I’ve decided to pursue my passion for Artificial/Machine Intelligence and I’ll be joining the Google Knowledge Developer Relations team. While my Computer Science concentration was AI, and a good part of my graduate work was in Neural Networks, my career took me through a couple of industries (mostly telecom systems and middleware, followed by a fun stint at YouTube) before reaching this exciting point.

I am very proud of my humble contribution to YouTube’s incredible growth over the past 3.5 years. One of my most favorite moments was the realization that we’re now seeing an emergence of innovative new businesses being built on the YouTube (API) Platform I had an opportunity to shape. It was at Google I/O 2013 when it really dawned on me how many exciting companies are betting their businesses on YouTube and adding value to the ecosystem every day. Here are a few of them.

Jarek and Chad Hurley at Google I/O 2013

Comparing to when I started at YouTube in mid-2010, today there are several proven developer opportunities on the Platform. If you are thinking about leveraging YouTube for your venture, let this I/O presentation be your guide: “YouTube for Developers: The Future and the Opportunities”. While not all biz models are yet supported (did somebody say “curation“?), there are several thriving categories such as analytics, audience development, content management, social media management, gaming, and many others.

The wonderful YouTube team, the YouTube Developer and Partner community made my time at YouTube truly memorable and I know I will miss it.  At the same time, my Lem-inspired adventure is calling. I better answer.

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?