YouTube adds HD preview images, logoless playback option

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Google has found that YouTube's video preview images are, for many people, the ultimate deciding factor as to whether or not to watch a video. As such, the company has added HD preview images to its embedded YouTube player. Previously, video preview images were not keeping up with high-quality and larger videos. Any new video uploaded to the site in a resolution of 480p or higher will now have an HD preview image wherever the player is embedded. Google will also automatically give HD preview images to older videos in the next few weeks, as long as they are 480p or larger.

At the same time, Google has responded to requests offering a logoless YouTube player. This means an embedded YouTube video is no longer marked with a YouTube logo in the bottom right corner, so the video plays without any branding. To enable this option, at the end of the video URL in your embed code you need to add "?modestbranding=1" and the player will show without the YouTube logo in the control bar. In this way, Google is helping users turn the option off, but by leaving it on by default for all videos, it is still pushing the YouTube brand.

Below we've embedded an example (it's the recently released Desmond Journey teaser trailer for Assassin's Creed Revelations):

On YouTube's sixth anniversary, Google announced the site is getting more than 3 billion page views per day. The search giant also revealed that more than 48 hours (two days worth) of video is uploaded to the site every minute.

YouTube is still pushing to improve the video sharing and viewing experience by making the processing of uploads faster, increasing the video lengths limit, tweaking the hompeage for all users, and so on. This year in particular, YouTube has been pushing to expand its reach in many areas.

Three months ago, the company announced that it wants to grow its staff by 30 percent this year. Two months ago, Google entered live streaming business wanted by launching YouTube Live, which integrates live streaming capabilities and discovery tools directly into the YouTube platform. Last month, YouTube began offering full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios, for rent.

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