<videovortex> YouTube Axes Its RealTime Toolbar Experiment (from Techcrunch)

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Tue Mar 23 09:23:35 CET 2010


YouTube Axes Its RealTime Toolbar Experiment
by Jason Kincaid on Mar 22, 2010
Last year, we reported on an experimental new YouTube project called  
RealTime.  The feature let you interact with your friends on YouTube,  
sharing videos and seeing what else they were watching using a slick  
toolbar that was integrated at the bottom of the screen. Alas, it  
looks like YouTube wasn’t satisfied with its performance: less than a  
year later, YouTube has removed the RealTime feature entirely. The  
following message was posted this morning to YouTube’s bug report forum:

"We’ve seen some of you wondering what occurred to the Realtime  
Toolbar. The Realtime Toolbar was recently retired and is no longer an  
available feature on YouTube.

We were excited to release and experiment with Realtime and it has  
inspired us for new features on YouTube in the future. We look forward  
to introducing many new features in the coming months and are sharing  
them with you all. Many thanks to those of you who used Realtime and  
for your feedback to us on this feature- your suggestions and input  
help the Team shape the site and determine what should be developed to  
further improve the YouTube community.

~ Liz (on behalf of the YouTube Team)."

RealTime looked and behaved a bit like Facebook’s notification system  
and the Meebo Bar. You could click on a menu item in the bottom right  
hand side of your screen to see what your friends were currently  
watching. If a friend invited you to watch a video, a small  
notification window would pop up immediately. This could have been a  
boon to discovery, as it made it very easy for friends to swap the  
cool videos they found on the site.  But YouTube never rolled it out  
widely — you could only access it if you had an invitation.

So why did YouTube get rid of the feature?  As it turns out, RealTime  
didn’t increase engagement and discovery as much as the other features  
that the site has been rolling out, like auto-sharing videos to  
Facebook and Twitter, and the improved YouTube friend finder.

Thanks to Michel Wester for the tip

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