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Ahhhh, YouTube. Is there a greater site on the Internet? All the videos of dogs humping Pokemon plushies, grown men getting punched in the testicles, and godawful pop songs you could ever want. How could it be improved?
It can’t. Improving it is impossible. But Google would like it to be a little more respectable, so YouTube is getting a facelift…and some original content.
Basically, it’s hard to sell advertising when you don’t know whether your ad will be next to something respectable or two men getting into a fistfight on a public transit bus. So Google is going to group YouTube into channels and produce up to $100 million worth of original content. That way, the content is sorted (and screened), and while users can still upload content, and continue to give YouTube the viral videos it needs to survive, advertisers can be reassured that nobody will associate their product with beatings.
Do we think this is unfortunate? Yes. Completely. The glory of YouTube is that it’s a cross between deep human moments and a total freaking train wreck. Sure, there’s plenty of great, professionally produced video on the site. But notice what goes viral are generally either moments of honesty we rarely see and moments of blithering self-delusion. YouTube is where a thirteen-year-old girl can turn a vanity song into a charting hit, donate most of the money to Japan, and shame the entire Internet. YouTube is great because it’s us. Don’t change that, Google. Don’t change that at all.