YouTube Leanback Actively Wants Your Passive Attention

It's turning out to be a big day for YouTube: first they unleash their monster mobile site upgrade, and now they've hatched Leanback, the most effective way yet to keep you from turning that internet dial.

If the television analogy seems out of place, don't blame me; YouTube started it. In fact, the whole point of Leanback is to making watching YouTube "as easy as watching TV." How it achieves that: lining up video after video in an automatically generated feed—based on your YouTube settings and preferences, and including any subscriptions or videos friends are sharing on Facebook—that lets you set it and forget it. And by "forget it" I mean "not navigate away from the page ever." At least, that's the plan.


It's a natural enough evolution, given the emphasis YouTube's last two redesigns put on playlist creation and easy navigation. And while Leanback is currently in beta, I wouldn't be surprised to see it rolled out fairly quickly. And it doesn't sound half bad! The Facebook integration alone promises a steady stream of at least halfway relevant content.

It's the ultimate goal, after all: users being able to watch internet video as passively as they do television—with YouTube being the only channel—just waiting for friend to upload the next home video of their bunny rabbit.

YouTube Leanback offers effortless viewing
A click here, a search there, a browse on this page — sometimes it can take more than a few flicks of the wrist and finger taps to get your daily dose of video. Luckily, YouTube Leanback wants you to conserve your energy for actually watching more videos. Mmm...more videos...

Just as its name implies, YouTube Leanback is all about letting you sit back, relax and be entertained. Videos tailored to your interests play as soon as you visit the site and they play in full screen and high definition, continuously. There's no need to click, search, or browse, unless you want to, of course. Watching YouTube becomes as easy effortless as watching TV.

To see what we mean, go to, and you'll note that a selection of videos — your "feed" — plays immediately. This feed is based on your YouTube settings and preferences, including content from your subscriptions and videos your friends are sharing on Facebook (assuming you've connected your YouTube account to your Facebook account). You can also watch the most popular comedy, entertainment, news, or more. And if you don't care for the video that's playing, use the right arrow key on your keyboard to skip ahead to the next video, or try the up/down arrows to search, access player controls, and browse channels and videos. You won't need your mouse for this experience.

YouTube Leanback is currently in beta, but we'd love for you to try it out at and let us know what it's like to kick back and revel in the endless stream of YouTube entertainment!

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The bunny video… I was riveted!