Earlier this month, YouTube began replacing the "watch in high quality" menu option accompanying many videos with a "watch in HD" menu option. In November, it expanded the width of the viewable video page to accommodate the 16:9 aspect ratio of HD videos.
On Thursday, YouTube said that it had added an HD videos area -- videos in the "Videos" section now have "HD" as a filtering option to make finding them easier.
In a move likely to pique the interest of video news organizations, YouTube also said that it has added three new video landing pages: youtube.com/news, youtube.com/music, and youtube.com/movies.
"The news page will be populated with breaking stories from around the world as well as news drawn from the Google News service; music will feature rising videos alongside playlists dedicated to different genres; movies will showcase some of the most popular short and full-length movies on YouTube today," YouTube explained in a blog post. "We'll keep a close eye on how these pages perform with a view to rolling them out in other categories."
Google News has proven to be a huge source of online traffic for Web publishers. So the possibility that YouTube's news page might increase the number of viewers of online video news could mean rising online ad revenue for producers of video news.
Video news is good news to Google, too, because it's produced in volume by professional organizations and its generally ad-friendly, unlike a lot of amateur content on YouTube.
In August last year, Google began adding videos from select news providers, including CBS, Reuters, and some local Hearst stations, to the print articles it aggregates on Google News.
The sources YouTube is using are the same professional news organizations that provide videos to Google News. But the language Google uses on its Web site to explain that policy suggests it may include video news from more diverse sources in the future.
"Currently, we're limiting our video providers to YouTube partners because we feel this helps us offer a better user experience," Google explains on its Web site. "We want to make sure you can play videos on the Web without having to worry about video players and downloads. We're always working to improve our service and look forward to adding more videos to our Google News index."
The Internet has made video accessible to everyone, including your competition. It's time to jump in. InformationWeek has published a how-to guide. Download the report here (registration required).