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Release Notes: 4/30/09

By The YouTube Team

Hello! Yesterday we had another release -- v38, if you're counting -- but if you've been reading this blog, you'll know that lots has happened between the last Release Notes post and today. We launched our RealTime beta, a new look for the homepage, a destination for TV and movie content, and CaptionEditor in TestTube. We try to be nimble and push out new features or fixes as often as they're ready. Let us know what you think of these latest updates:

* New Options for Uploaders: In our continued effort to give you ultimate control over how your videos are presented, uploaders can now tweak the appearance of their video when played on YouTube or in an embedded player. Just insert any of the hint tags below into the tags field of your video and voila!

yt:crop=16:9 (zooms in on the 16:9 area, removes windowboxing)

yt:stretch=16:9 (fixes anamorphic content by scaling to 16:9)

yt:stretch=4:3 (fixes 720x480 content that is the wrong aspect ratio by scaling to 4:3)

yt:quality=high (default to a high quality stream, depending on availability)

* HD Browsing Goes Global: Add Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and U.K. to the list of countries where you can browse the most popular HD videos in the region.

* AudioSwap Adds Recommendations: If your video contained an audio track that was not authorized for use on YouTube, the Recommended Tracks feature in AudioSwap will help you quickly find fully licensed songs to replace your original audio track. Recommendations are based on a combination of popularity and, for audio-matched videos, similarity to the original track. The three tracks being used most often are "Bodies" by Drowning Pool, "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence, and "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven.

* Subscription Tab in More Places: We added a new "Subscriptions" tab to the top of the page a few weeks ago for anyone with an account who sets his or her country preference to "Worldwide." Starting today, the Subscriptions tab is available on any of our English-language sites, and we'll add it for other languages soon, too. Why is this important? Simple -- we hope to build stronger connections between video creators and their audiences by making subscriptions more prominent on YouTube. Please let us know if this change has positively impacted your viewership.

* Subscription Suggestions: Building on our new subscriptions tab, users without any subscriptions who visit the subscription center will now see some channel suggestions (a random set of popular channels) to help them get started using this key YouTube feature. If you already have some subscriptions, you can see the suggestions, too -- just click on "About Subscription Center" in the upper-right corner of the subscriptions center.

* Username Alternatives: YouTube is a big place these days and many channel names are taken. But starting today, if your desired username is already in use when you sign up for an account, we'll offer some alternates, hopefully reducing the head-scratching that can come from trying to figure out a handle that you like and is available. Right now this is in test mode, but we expect it to go 100% soon.

* A Tooltip to Help With Precise Seeking: If someone tells you to check out their video at two minutes, now it's easy to find that precise point. As you drag the thumb (what we call the little circle) back and forth, a shiny new tooltip will tell you exactly where you are in the video.


The YouTube Team