New YouTube Interface, Cosmic Panda, Released to the Public

New YouTube Interface, Cosmic Panda, Released to the Public

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YouTube didn’t want to get left out in a huge week for online video news (Google Plus, Facebook video chat, etc.), so they decided to release an entirely new YouTube interface to anyone who wants to give it a try. It’s called Cosmic Panda, and as YouTube says, it’s a brand new way to experience videos, playlist, and channels.

YouTube says they’ve been obsessing lately, night and day, over how the vast amount of videos are presented on the site. Apparently they’re a bunch of mad scientists over there, always tinkering and trying out new idea.s And one such experiment with the user interface has impressed the internal team enough to graduate to the level of being a public experiment.

Meet Cosmic Panda:

What is YouTube Cosmic Panda?

Cosmic Panda is a TestTube product, which means it may never become a permanent live feature. According to YouTube, it’s all of the following:

  • A new experience for watching videos and playlists
  • More page designs and better editing tools to customize your channel
  • Keep watching when moving between videos, playlists, and channels (Chrome only)
  • Stylish new look and feel

You can become part of the experiment by heading over to the Cosmic Panda page and turning it on. Don’t worry, it’s easy to switch back to the old YouTube at any time.

I’ve tried it out, and I must say… it seems pretty cool to me at first glance. The redesign isn’t so drastic as to be jarring. A lot of things are still in the same places. But there’s definitely been a face-lift, and a healthy dose of the color gray has been liberally added in many shades.

Here’s a look at the Cosmic Panda home page:

Again, nothing too drastic in terms of look or location.

It’s the video player page where you’ll start to see more significant changes:

Down below the video, you’ll now see dark toggle buttons for Comments and Suggested Videos. It defaults to Comments view, as usual, but you can click the Suggested Videos button and see this:

Notice the Video Size options in white over on the top right of that screenshot. That’s fantastic. Simple icons for one-click size changes.

Let’s take a look at the player itself:

This thing is outstanding in my opinion. Simplified and slick. The red chat-balloon icon on the bottom right lets you toggle the video’s annotations on and off, and when captions are present, you’ll have another little toggle icon for turning those on and off as well. And as you can see, you can still change the video resolution or jump up to full-screen view with the click of a mouse.

There are new design and layout changes to the account-side of YouTube as well; the first screenshot in this article shows the new logged-in interface for members.

What’s the Verdict?

What do you think? Have you tried out Cosmic Panda yet? Do you think that’s a ridiculous name for a new user interface? Are you one of those YouTubers who hates every new design change and will therefore hate this on principle? Feel free to let us know your thoughts on YouTube’s new Cosmic Panda experience in the comments below.


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