Youtube just announced the implementation of a new service in their video sharing website: the ability to add interactive comments right onto your videos. This new service, known as Youtube Video Annotations, brings a wide range of possibilities in terms of video creativity and value-added services for users. That is, you can use these notes to include extra details about the video, give the viewers some background information, add some fun dialogs over a certain scene or even link to other Youtube videos, channels or search results.
Youtube Video Annotations are really easy you use. Simply login into the website with your username and password and access your videos in the Account > My videos menu. Find the video you want to annotate and click on the “Edit annotations” button. You’ll enter a new webpage with a built-in video player on the right side (to preview your video) and a note creation tool on the left.
There are three kinds of video annotations: notes, which are simple rectangles with text inside; speech bubbles, which are a kind of comic-like speech balloons; and finally spotlights, which are similar to the Flickr notes on photos. Adding any of them is as easy as playing the video up to the point where you want notes to appear and clicking on the corresponding button.
Notes can be freely dragged and resized with your mouse. Besides text, you can also insert links to other Youtube videos, channels or search results, but not to other websites outside Youtube. When added, notes have a default lasting time of 5 seconds, but this can be easily customized as well.
Though still at a beta stage, Youtube Video Annotations seems to be a quite interesting functionality with great potential: not only to add more information about the current video, but also in more creative ways like adding dialogs or even inserting subtitles for hearing impaired users.