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Is YouTube Play A Sign Of Things To Come?

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YouTube Play is some artsy partnership between YouTube, HP and the Guggenheim Museum in New York that highlights 25 most creative YouTube videos in something called the Biennial of Creative Video. Apparently muy respected art world figures like Laurie Andersen, Takashi Murakami, Marilyn Minter, Stephan Sagmeister sifted through 23,000 submissions from all around the world and will reveal the winners at 8 p.m ET, 5 p.m. PST.

While this art stuff is great PR and street cred for aging hipster YouTube, the caliber of artists taking part is not the most amazing thing about YouTube Play. A visit to YouTube.com/play reveals a stunning custom Apple-like interface, where you can actually search for individual videos on a visually appealing video wall like with Cooliris or TechCrunch Disrupt finalist Gunzoo’s Fabric Video.

The buttons on the Play interface are also different, there are “Next,” “Previous,” and “Back” buttons and the ability to reload videos when you pause. The video sharing options are also streamlined on a bar below the video itself, with the added options to share and change country at the top right. Comments and video description have been moved to the video’s direct right. And I’m not even going to get into the quality of the content.

After playing around with Play, I have to agree with TechCrunch reader Deepak Vadgama when he asked, “Why can’t YouTube be what it is now?” The design sense and talent is definitely there, as evidenced by YouTube Play. Is this some kind of elaborate QA?  I’ve emailed Google to see if YouTube Play is a sign of things to come, and will update this post as soon as I get more information.

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