YouTube's new de-cluttered look controls trolls, takes inspiration from Facebook

YouTube recently changed the look of every single one of its video pages in order to "reduce visual noise and clutter, make it friendlier to watch longer-form content, increase viewing time, and introduce new playlists that follow you around the site as you search, browse and watch," reports Wired.com columnist Eliot Van Buskirk.

YouTube senior product manager Shiva Rajaraman told Buskirk that "the site launched too many features in 2009–more than in the previous two years combined–and tried to cram them onto the video-playback page without enough concern for how people were using them."

Among the site's improvements is the replacement of its star ratings system with the less fussy, Facebook-inspired "like" or "unlike" feature. Trolls will also be regulated to an extent.

Buskirk emphasizes, "YouTube's new comment system,   takes a number of steps to discourage, shall we say, 'unhelpful' conversation while surfacing the cream to the top. The new comments section defaults to a 'highlights' view, where comments from the uploader of a given video, comments from other uploaders, popular comments, and video responses are given priority, while countless people chiming in 'LOL' are hidden."

Of course, Buskirk adds, "You can still see YouTube comments in all their glory by clicking 'View all,' but for the most part, this should help YouTube accomplish its stated goal of reducing potential uploaders' fear of being mocked by the crowd."

Chek out YouTube's new look and see if you dig the makeover.

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