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Release Notes: Playlist Bar, music listings, annotations upgrades...

By The YouTube Team

What's new on YouTube since we last met? Let us count the things...

"Playlist Bar" launch: Last week, we introduced the "Playlist Bar": when you view a playlist, recommended videos (from the homepage), your subscriptions or your favorites, you'll see a control bar at the bottom of the page, displaying the videos from those categories. The goal is to keep you from having to jumping back and forth to different pages to select which videos you'd like to watch next. Autoplay (which is no longer on by default) and the ability to select specific videos from your playlists without ever leaving the page are intended to make your viewing experience more seamless. We're continuing to monitor your feedback here as we plan improvements to this feature.

Local music listings: A new addition to our revamped music page is the "Events Near You" section, provided by Songkick. Discover an artist you like on the page? "Events Near You" will let you know if he or she is headed your way.

Annotations upgrades: We now offer fully transparent annotations with black or white text, a new default color (half-transparent black, replacing red), a new default position for new annotations (off-center), and a cleaner look for tooltips.

Redesigned video manager: The My_Videos page has been reworked to offer streamlined ways of managing and reviewing videos you've uploaded, including options to sort your videos alphabetically, by length, by recency and by views. You can also browse the content you've viewed, purchased and liked, and there's access right here to Insight and Promoted Videos information (to the right of "Edit" button). For feedback on these changes, please chime in here.

Promotional badges: Take a look at the badges created to help you better promote your YouTube channel on site and off. Find the asset you like and click on it to generate handy embed code for your blog or website (you'll have to sign in at the prompt).
New way to embed videos: A new embed code style enables you to view embedded videos in one of our Flash or HTML5 players, depending on your viewing environment and preferences. For more information, see this blog post from our API blog.

Buzz videos on your homepage: As with the Facebook feed import, the YouTube videos your friends are sharing on Google Buzz are now be pulled into your YouTube homepage if you're connected to Buzz (e.g. to AutoShare your activity).

HQ Webcam uploads: That's right: You can now upload high quality video from your Webcam! All webcam recordings will be done at 360p.

Free previews on rentals: All rental videos in the U.S. will show a free preview or movie trailer automatically so you can decide if you want to watch it before buying it. If you're over 18 and live in the U.S., you can check this out right here on the movie Kick-Ass.