You may have already noticed YouTube looking a little different this week, but now it's official: the site's undergone a major redesign that aims to clear out the clutter.
YouTube's new pared-down look is opt-in at the moment, and up and running internationally. It's a little spartan, but it does make it easier to focus on the video you're watching—and the advertisements packaged with it. Gone is the five-star rating system, replaced with a gladiatorian thumbs up or down. Information about each clip's creator is tucked under the video, while you can view a list of their other offerings and choose to subscribe above it. Actions like sharing, saving, and flagging a video have been reduced to buttons, and you can search while continuing to watch whatever's on your current page.
On the right-hand side of the screen, the "Next UP" box now incorporates the search that brought you there and takes into account your subscriptions, instead of the previous one-video experience.
According to YouTube, the move was made to simplify the user experience and to create a video page that could accommodate a wide range of genres. This is good! What would be better—and what's coming eventually but not available now—is the ability to to customize your viewing page, using this design as a foundation.
One thing that's not going anywhere are the number and placement of ads. That's understandable—it's a business, after all—but I do wonder, if they were taking such a big axe to the design elements of the page, if there may have been a little room to cut those down as well.
It sounds as though there's still room for change, as YouTube monitors and measures user response over the next couple of weeks. But overall, it's a good clean look for all your Muppet music video needs. [YouTube]