If you thought YouTube was everywhere, you ain't seen nothing yet. The popular Web site for user-supplied videos announced Wednesday that it will provide application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow even more access from other sites and applications.
The APIs will let developers upload videos to Google-owned YouTube from other Web sites, or play YouTube's videos on other sites. The expansion could transform YouTube from primarily a hub of user-supplied videos to a hub of services providing video and personalization features across the Internet.
'Chromeless' Video Player
YouTube already allows other sites to present or search YouTube videos, but the new tools will let developers essentially turn a site or online application into smaller and separately branded versions of YouTube. A "chromeless" video player, for instance, can be stripped of the YouTube brand, added to another site, and marked with that site's look and brand.
YouTube said the free APIs will help it reach beyond the browser so users can "discover and share compelling video content wherever they are."
It added that the tools provide "wholesale access to our extensive video library, worldwide audience, and the underlying video hosting and streaming infrastructure that powers YouTube."
Builders of Web sites and Net-connected software will be able to customize and control their own player, allow videos to be uploaded to YouTube, and enable users to comment and rate videos from the site or application. Information like titles, descriptions, ratings, favorites and the like can be added, and the top-rated videos in various locales can be chosen.
Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with JupiterResearch, said YouTube's APIs are part of a larger trend of "spraying content across the board" over the Web, and YouTube is doing it in a big way.
Even TV networks and movie studios are spreading content with the NBC Universal-News Corp. joint venture Hulu.com, which launched Wednesday. It will provide full-length broadcast and cable-TV programs as well as movies. But it will also offer those to major Web sites such as MSN and Yahoo.
Gartenberg said this sharing of videos and content parallels sharing on the booming social-networking sites, and the "YouTubing" of the Web will propel that trend. Social sites, including MySpace, Facebook, Plaxo and others, have also been opening up to make their content and functions available for third-party customization and dissemination.