YouTube this week unveiled new tools aimed at allowing third party Web sites to build their own YouTube capabilities by providing developers with access to the YouTube video library and underlying video hosting and streaming infrastructure.
As a result, Web site operators can now allow their users to upload video and access their YouTube accounts without leaving their sites.
New YouTube APIs will let the third party sites create features to allow their users to upload videos and video responses, to grab localized standard feeds like most viewed videos and top rated videos, and add titles, descriptions and comments to videos.
In addition, the firm will now allow developers to customize YouTube players embedded on third party sites.
With the announcement, YouTube "has become an open, general purpose, video services platform, available for use by just about any third-party website, desktop application, or consumer device," the company noted on its blog. "We do all of the hard work of transcoding and hosting and streaming and thumbnailing your videos, and we provide open access to our sizable global audience, enabling you to generate traffic for your site, visibility for your brand or support for your cause."
Sean Aune, a blogger at Mashable.com, noted that the new APIs will "allow you to do everything you currently do on the YouTube home site itself from any site of your choosing. Manage your account, change subscriptions, manage favorites, etc, all of that can now be done from anywhere on the web."
The most advantageous aspect of the new APIs is that now Web site operators can allow visitors to log onto their account and upload video directly without having to leave their site, Aune noted.
As far as potential applications, YouTube said that the University of California, Berkeley is using the APIs to capture lectures and publish them directly to YouTube while Electronic Arts is allowing players of its Spore game to capture videos of the game's user-generated creatures and add them to YouTube.
Animoto Productions, whose site allows users to generate videos from images and music, will use the new APIs to allow their users to publish music videos directly to YouTube, it said.