YouTube gets sleek new design with cross-site Guide feature to promote subscriptions and channels!!

YouTube has released new features designed to help make it easier for viewers to subscribe and watch channels on its site. Part of this effort is the expansion of its Guide feature, which now reaches across multiple devices. Additionally, the service is rolling out a new look to the site that it says is cleaner and simpler.

With channel subscriptions, YouTube has been focused on helping users to discover new videos. Although rolled out five years ago, it was last year when the company made it easier for people to subscribe by adding the Guide on the homepage.

As you may have seen, when you add subscriptions to your Guide, it shows you videos related to what you’ve seen before. Now, the Guide follows you across all of your devices, including Android, iPhone, iPad, Playstation 3, Google TV, and more — never again will you need to remember what channel had your favorite video.

guide 1 YouTube gets sleek new design with cross site Guide feature to promote subscriptions and channels

There are over 4 billion hours of video watched on YouTube alone each month. Within the last year, the number of users subscribing to channels has doubled, and the company is estimating that an additional 30% rise is to be expected. In other words, managing subscriptions is definitely important.

With over 800 million people visiting the site each month, discovering videos isn’t enough — YouTube is also rolling out a new layout where its “crucial elements” are up front and center: the video is at the top of the page with the subscribe button, social actions, and video info are below it. This places the emphasis on the video content, and nothing else. Your playlists are also available on the right-hand side so you can navigate through other videos as well.

newlook 1 YouTube gets sleek new design with cross site Guide feature to promote subscriptions and channels

It appears that YouTube had been making some design changes to the service for a while now. As TechCrunch reported, a YouTube spokesperson stated that “with more videos coming to YouTube every minute, we’re always experimenting with ways to help people more easily find, watch and share the videos that matter most to them. As always, we’ll consider rolling changes out more broadly based on feedback on these experiments.”

For those participating in the YouTube Creators program, a resource to help users create better content by taking advantage of the service’s tools, there are at least three things to note about what the new design means: the Guide is everywhere and will promote channel activity to fans, the video now becomes center stage on the viewing page, and lastly, it’s now easier for fans to subscribe along with what it calls “enhanced channel recommendations”.

Photo credit: ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images

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Facebook to buy mobile chat app WhatsApp?

If reports are to be believed, Facebook is looking to buy multi-platform instant messaging application WhatsApp in a bid to improve its mobile services.

Citing sources close to the matter, TechCrunchreports the social networking giant has shown keen interest in acquiring WhatsApp. The site, however, could not provide more information about the possible price range or the talks are in which stage right now. Facebook and WhatsApp are yet to comment on the reports.

Buying WhatsApp would make a lot of sense for Facebook, which has of late looked to tap its mobile services to up revenues. WhatsApp, launched in 2009, announced in October last year that it had more than 100 millioni daily users across the world, sending and receiving 1 billion messages per day. These impressive figures might have prompted Facebook to bring in such features to its social network. It’s notable WhatsApp has users base across multiple mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone.

Facebook to buy mobile chat app WhatsApp?

“Just how much is 1 billion messages? That is 41,666,667 messages an hour, 694,444 messages a minute, and 11,574 messages a second,” WhatsApp boasted in a blog post.  “Unlike Facebook, Whatsapp is a paid app. And obviously, having a paid, ad-free service is an expansion of Facebook’s business model beyond advertising. We’ve already seen Facebook launch another service that diversifies it — Gifts — and the positive impact that has had with investors,” says the report.

Right now it’s not clear exactly what Facebook would do with WhatsApp if it bought. But it is believed that the move would help deeper integration of the IM with the social networking site.

Reports of Facebook-WhatsApp deal come days after the messenger app drew harsh criticism from security and mobile researchers over the alleged security risks based on its authentication process. According to CNET, various bloggers dubbed the process a “security nightmare”, alleging the app leaked data collected off the device when it’s being relayed to services.

Recently, WhatsApp suffered a glitch that showed “error:uknown” as contact status. According to reports, the glitch had affected thousands of users worldwide. The bug was followed by a hoax message urging people who use the app to forward a message to all their contacts or face having their accounts deleted. Read more about the WhatsApp glitch here.