How YouTube Works

It may seem simple to watch a video (just click the play button), but when you view a video on YouTube there’s a lot of technology involved behind the scenes.

It all starts with the uploading of video files. Users upload videos to YouTube in QuickTime, AVI, MPEG, or Windows Media Video (WMV) file formats. YouTube then converts these video files into Flash format— which is how the videos are served to YouTube users. (To view YouTube videos in your web browser, you must have Macromedia Flash Player 7 installed.) All the videos are stored on YouTube’s servers and served via streaming video to viewers’ web browsers.

Since YouTube utilizes streaming video technology, video files are not saved to your hard disk. That’s because streaming video is different from downloading a complete video file. When you download a file, you can’t start playing that file until it is completely downloaded to your PC. With streaming video, however, playback can start before an entire file is downloaded; the first part of the file is present on your PC while the last part is still downloading. It makes for almost-immediate video playback, especially if you have a broadband Internet connection—which means immediate gratification for YouTube viewers!

Navigating YouTube’s Home Page
When you first access YouTube (, you see the home page. This is your home base for the entire site; from here you can browse videos, search for videos, access your favorite videos, and even upload your own videos.

There are a lot of items on this home page, including the following:
• At the very top of the page, links to your YouTube email inbox, videos you’re sharing, your YouTube account, a QuickList of videos you’ve tagged for future viewing, and YouTube’s help system.

• Also at the top of the page (when you click your account name), links to videos you’ve uploaded (My Videos), along with links to your favorite videos, playlists, videos you’ve subscribed to, your email inbox, and more.

• A toolbar that includes a search box, Upload button (for uploading your own videos) and buttons that link to important parts of the YouTube site—the Home page, your Subscriptions, Videos by category, commercial TV Shows for viewing, and Channels for all YouTube users.

• An Inbox box that displays messages, comments, friend invites, and the like.

• A What’s New box that tells you all about YouTube’s latest features.

• Spotlight—videos that YouTube is highlighting at the moment.

• Subscriptions—videos from users to whom you’ve subscribed.

• Recommended for You—videos that YouTube thinks you might like, based on your past viewing.

• Friends—the most recent videos from your YouTube friends.

• Featured Videos—the hottest or coolest videos on YouTube today.

• Videos Being Watched Now—what other viewers are watching at this moment.

• Finally, at the very bottom of the home page, you’ll find links to other essential site features—including help and company information.

To move to a different part of the YouTube site, just click the appropriate button or link. For example, to manage your account information, click the Account link at the top of the page. To browse through videos by category, click the Videos button. Or to view the videos you yourself have uploaded, click the right arrow next to your user name at the top of the page, then click My Videos.

To view a video displayed on YouTube’s home page, just click the thumbnail for that video. That will open that video’s viewing page and start playback of the video.

Source of Information : Sams Teach Yourself Facebook in 10 Minutes (2009)


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