Last year we kicked off a beta feature that let creators convert YouTube videos into 3D with a click, and since then you’ve converted hundreds of thousands of your videos to 3D. Today we’re expanding the beta to all of you by adding automatic 3D conversion for short-form videos uploaded in 1080p. Meaning, you can select 3D viewing in the Quality settings (click on the gear icon) on the YouTube player, then pop on your 3D glasses and see YouTube in another dimension. Here’s one of our favorites:

How it works

To give you more dimension on 3D, here’s some background how the conversion technology works at YouTube. Since last September we’ve been constantly improving the underlying technology, which now uses several techniques:
  • We use a combination of video characteristics such as color, spatial layout and motion to estimate a depth map for each frame of a monoscopic video sequence
  • We use machine learning from the growing number of true 3D videos on YouTube to learn video depth characteristics and apply them in depth estimation
  • The generated depth map and the original monoscopic frame create a stereo 3D left-right pair, that a stereo display system needs to display a video as 3D

With this broader knowledge of 3D conversion, we then apply cloud computing scalability to make conversion possible across even more videos on YouTube. Breaking up a video into tiny chunks of data and processing them in parallel on Google’s cloud infrastructure lets us process these videos, while still producing the quality you expect.

We’d love to hear your feedback and other 3D features you’d like to see. With 4D, 5D and 6D around the corner there’s lots more we can do!

Deb Mukherjee, technical staff, and Chen Wu, software engineer, recently watched "YouTube Rewind 2011" in 3D!

With it being Halloween season and all, we've got an especially spoooooky edition of Release Notes for you.

First-ever user-designed Doodle:
You may have noticed that once in a while, we change our homepage logo to match a special occasion -- for example, we've done it for Earth Day, the finale of YouTube Play, and yesterday's one billionth subscription milestone. But this Halloween we're especially jazzed because the Doodle you'll see on the homepage was designed by xperpetualmotion, a YouTube community member and Rhode Island School of Design student. Here's how she came up with the icon you see below: "I tried out a lot of different Halloween imagery before deciding on the classic 'holes cut out of a white sheet' ghost. It makes me smile every time, because what else could this kid possibly have under there that makes him that shape? I wanted the logo to be something fun and clever, and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!" We certainly do! Thank you, Karen.

YouTube's first user-designed Doodle, by xperpetualmotion

Global Halloween films: If you're in the U.S., U.K., Canada or Australia, we've got some exciting news to add to your seasonal mirth: our friends at Crackle made sure their Halloween offerings could be viewed by horror fans around the world, marking the first time a studio's made several full-length movies simultaneously available in multiple territories on YouTube. Click here for regional viewing dates for Underworld: Evolution, Idle Hands, Mary Reilly, The Blob and The Bride.

Report a bug: No, we don't mean the creepy crawly kind, but the kind that may indicate something's broken. If you come across a problem on the site, scroll down to the new "report a bug" link at the bottom of any YouTube page. Clicking it will allow you to take an easy screenshot of the page and add further details in the pop-up box:

New "Send feedback" form

African language launches: YouTube's now available in Amharic and Swahili. Click on the language link at the bottom of the page to change your language settings.

Type non-English text with the virtual keyboard: We've made it easy for people to find videos in non-Latin script-based languages; the on-screen keyboard is available in 26 languages (Amharic, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Swahili, Swedish, Vietnamese, Slovenian, Romanian, Ukrainian). To use the virtual keyboard, switch the language of the site to one of the supported languages and click on the keyboard icon in the search box.

Here's where you can turn on the virtual keyboard

More efficient 3D player: Our new player for 3D videos is much faster than the previous player, especially for HD resolution. Try enjoying your favorite 3D clips in high resolution and full screen with no lag.

The BooooooTube Team

UPDATE (8pm PT):  We just received this video from Karen, to go along with her Doodle:

Did you know that we released more features in 2009 than in 2007 and 2008 combined? This made it the busiest year on record for the YouTube product and engineering teams. Some of these launches, like support for 1080p, made sizable splashes, while others, like "trending topics" appearing at the bottom of the browse page, went out with less fanfare. With so much going on, we wanted to pause before the new year begins to review the things that hopefully made the biggest impact on your overall YouTube experience:

  • Auto-Share - As part of our wider effort to integrate YouTube into the social and communication platforms you use every day, AutoShare automatically syndicates your YouTube activity to Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader.

  • 1080p - In November, we unveiled support for videos in 1080p (aka "full HD"). Want to test it out? Check out this video.

  • Auto-Speech Recognition - Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, coupled with YouTube's captioning system, makes videos more accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired. This same speech recognition technology can create machine-generated captions, which can then be translated into 51 languages.
  • Mobile Website for Smartphones - Watching videos on -- and uploading videos from -- cell phones is more popular than ever. To meet this demand, we launched a new mobile website designed to make using YouTube on smartphones like the iPhone, G1 and Palm Pre a lot easier.
  • YouTube XL - YouTube XL optimizes YouTube for large screens. In addition to offering larger text and simplified navigation, XL has a continuous play feature, allowing you to search for a topic, hit "play" and then kick back for an uninterrupted viewing experience.
  • VEVO - is a partnership that blends Google and YouTube's technology with music videos from a broad catalog of artists from Universal Music Group, Sony Music and EMI. The site hopes to redefine the way people watch and engage with music online, as well as change the way the digital and music industries do business with each other.

  • Feather - Feather is a stripped-down version of the page on which any video plays. Without all but the basic features, the page loads more quickly and videos play back faster. Give it a whirl in TestTube or click here.

  • 3D - In July, one of our engineers used his free time to implement easier viewing options for 3D videos on YouTube. Here's a brief overview video.
  • Real-Time Comment Search - In October, we released the ability to search YouTube comments in real-time. The comment appears on a continuously updated results page, and "trending topics" indicates the hottest topics of conversation on YouTube at that particular moment.
  • Shows & Movies - In April, we rolled out a destination sporting hundreds of movies and thousands of full-length TV episodes. Offerings have included film classics like Taxi Driver, Ghostbusters and the Spaghetti Western Trilogy, as well as current TV shows from broadcasters like C4 and Channel 5 in the UK.
Which of these features is your favorite? Please use the poll in the top right corner of this blog to let us know what you've found to be most useful in '09, or leave a comment below if there's another feature that had an important impact on your YouTube life.

Hunter Walk, Director, Product Management, and John Harding, Engineering Manager

First there was 1953's 3D thriller "House of Wax," thenthere was the Michael Jackson adventure "Captain EO," and this summerthere are at least three major motion pictures in 3D. The format isexploding in popularity, and already there are countless 3D videos on YouTube. Wewanted to make it easier for you to watch and enjoy them in a varietyof formats, since having a 3D experience usually requires specialglasses or viewing techniques. Here's a brief overview video.

This is a new feature and many of the kinks arestill being worked out (for instance, 3D videos cannot be embedded).But as with most things on YouTube, we need your help. We are lookingfor you to show us the real potential of this feature by making afascinating, funky 3D video of your own. Tag it with yt3d:enable=true,and leave the link in a comment on this blog. We'll feature a smallselection on the homepage in an upcoming 3D-themed spotlight.

Some basics around shooting 3D videos (this isn't easy, so patience is key):
  • Use two cameras arranged like a pair of eyes.
  • Start both cameras recording simultaneously.
  • Inyour video editing program, place the footage for the left and righteyes together in the frame side by side, with the right eye on the leftand the left eye on the right.
  • Upload your video! Edit your videos tags and add yt3d:enable=true. If video is widescreen, add yt3d:aspect=16:9 too.
For user discussions around 3D video, visit the YouTube forum.

Have fun!

Posted by Peter Bradshaw, Software Engineer