Browser will use heuristics to allow sites like YouTube, Netflix to continue to autoplay.
Trolling music fans into subscribing to its paid service is just one of the new features you can expect from YouTube, although not all of them are as annoying as watching more ads between music clips.
The company has decided to take a hard stance on videos that promote gun modifications, tutorials, and ban all videos that link directly to sites that sell weapons or accessories like bump stocks.
Videos that show you how to build a gun or install one of the dreaded bump-stock devices, which transform certain rifles into fully-automatic weapons, will be banned from the site.
The new rules will be enforced this April, Google explained in a support document on its website.
“We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines across all of our policies,“ a YouTube spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.
“While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories.”
Google already had in place rules that ban videos that explicitly promote the sale of guns, and the company started restricting videos that advertise bump stock devices last October, after the Las Vegas massacre.
The new rules have arrived in the wake of last month’s Parkland shooting that reignited the gun debate.
The NRA did not comment on the matter, but some content creators aren’t happy. InRange TV co-owner Karl Kasarda told The Journal that the rules are broadly written giving Google the power to censor whatever it wants.
“Their policies are not very clear-cut, and they are arbitrary,” Kasarda said. “You never know when you are going to get hit by them.” He added that he can’t tell whether the new policy prohibits videos that show you how to load a magazine into a gun.
On the other hand, not having videos at hand instructing you how to use a gun “properly” isn’t such a bad idea.
Some gun-related channels are already feeling the heat.
YouTube is going to start increasing the number of ads that appear between music videos to convince its freeloading users to pay for its upcoming music streaming service. The company’s global head of music Lyor Cohen explained to Bloomberg this week in an interview at the South by Southwest music festival that non-paying users are “not going to be happy” when they’re jamming out to a playlist, only to be bombarded with ads after every song.
Cohen, who joined the Google-owned company in late 2016, says that the strategic shift will put an end to the “noise” about YouTube and other streaming services hurting the music industry. After all, YouTube has skated by for all these years allowing users to upload copyrighted songs without properly reimbursing the artists.
“There’s a lot more people in our funnel that we can frustrate and seduce to become subscribers,” Cohen said. “Once we do that, trust me, all that noise will be gone and articles people write about that noise will be gone.”
As Bloomberg points out, YouTube has attempted to market paid subscription services in the past to little avail, but Cohen is confident that the company’s latest venture will succeed. He says that the new service (which may or may not be called YouTube Remix) will offer exclusive videos and playlists, and that YouTube has already begun funding music videos from some of the industry’s biggest stars. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide any details regarding pricing or release timing, but “thousands” of Google employees are reportedly already using it.
More competition is a good thing for artists and consumers alike, but YouTube may want to massage its messaging before the service actually launches. After all, knowing that YouTube wants to advertise me into submission isn’t the most compelling selling point for a service trying to compete with Spotify and Apple Music.
If you’ve ever attempting to live stream on YouTube before, you’re aware that the process is more complicated than it should be. Rather than simply pressing a button to turn on your webcam and begin streaming, you have to set up and activate encoding software. The software isn’t especially user-friendly either, and requires some trial and error.
That’s all going to change starting this week though, as YouTube begins rolling out a new feature that will allow users to live stream directly from their browsers without installing any additional software. For now, the feature can only be found on Chrome browsers, but YouTube says that it will expand to more browsers soon.
In order to access the new feature, you can either visit youtube.com/webcam or click the camera icon in the top right corner of the site and select “Go live” from the drop-down menu. But before you can start streaming through YouTube, you will need to verify your account with a phone number. After you enter the code you receive on your phone via call or text, it could take up to 24 hours to get access to the feature, at which point you can start streaming.
YouTube says that creators who were given early access to the feature have used it for beauty tutorials, fan updates, and product reviews, all of which sound like standard YouTube fare. Lowering the barrier to entry even further will no doubt open up the live streaming capabilities of the site to countless more users (for better or worse).
In addition to Chrome and other desktop browsers, YouTube is also bringing the feature the smartphones. Owners of select smartphones from Asus, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung will be able to start a live stream directly from the built-in camera app in the coming months, with more vendors set to join in the future.