Cosmic Panda B&W

YouTube's Cosmic Panda highlights fans and video creators

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YouTube is about to get classy—well, classier—with “Cosmic Panda”, the codename for the video site’s new redesign unveiled Thursday.

And it’s about time. As the third most popular website in the world, YouTube’s current design is ugly and hard to navigate, but that is a years-old complaint.

“Cosmic Panda” uses darker colors—which makes the videos pop more. Video creators have more flexibility: There are four different channel templates, various video sizes, and even a new Community tab that leads to a Facebook-type “wall” allowing you to post updates or notes.

The last change is a particularly welcome one, since YouTube’s design has made the vibrant community activity on the site hard to find.

YouTubers have already posted more than 300 review videos. Most say the new design is still a bit wonky. To be fair, that’s to be expected since it’s still in beta.

In HappyCabbie’s review video, he mentions there is no easy way to scroll through a channel’s videos, just “an option to play all” and notes the “blogger” layout doesn’t work yet. HappyCabbie lists other complaints: for example, the tally of his videos as well as his Featured Channels list is off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKawdD8KbNU

Cosmic Panda also works only in Google’s Chrome Web browser. YouTube officials mentioned this in the post about the update on the YouTube blog, but that didn’t stop AmericazGotTalentYT from making a vlog complaining about it. AmericazGotTalentYT also mentioned that Cosmic Panda “looks similar“ to Hulu, a site backed by the major broadcast networks that host official versions of some TV shows and movies, and noted recent reports that Google is considering making an offer to buy Hulu.

YouTube megapersonality sxephil, aka Philip DeFranco, also weighed in on Cosmic Panda via a vlog, calling it the “new YouTube.”  He said he likes the heavy emphasis YouTube is placing on playlists and the larger pictures. He also called the new color “a Hulu color” and admits there’s much “tinkering” to be done.

But the details of the design, which are sure to change, are the least concern. What’s important is that YouTube’s owner, Google, is paying attention to content creators and the communities of fans they attract—and starting to give them the showcase they deserve.