YouTube is about starting a conversation. Every day, hundreds of millions of videos spark dialogues on everything from the future of the African continent, to what should be done about the oil spill, to the best slam dunk of all time.  But until now, it’s been difficult to harness those free-flowing discussions. 

That’s why, starting today, we’ve integrated the ability to use Google Moderator into every single YouTube channel. Moderator is a versatile, social platform that allows you to solicit ideas or questions on any topic, and have the community vote the best ones up to the top in real-time. We previously used Google Moderator as part of our interviews with President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Here’s how it works: You set the parameters for the dialogue, including the topic, the type of submissions, and the length of the conversation. Watch as submissions get voted up or down by your audience, and then respond to the top-voted submissions by posting a video on your channel. The platform operates in real-time, and you can remove any content that you or your audience flag as inappropriate. You can also embed the platform on your own website or blog.

To get things started, we’ve invited 12 YouTube users, including Michael Buckley, the New York Times, Stanford and Howcast, to try out the feature and show us how it’s done:

Foodwishes wants you to submit and vote on your favorite recipes, and Chef John will make the top-rated dish and name it after the creator:

GreenForAll is asking for your ideas for how to help clean-up the Gulf Coast oil spill:

HotforWords is looking for your best examples of redundant acronyms: 

HouseholdHacker welcomes your questions in his series “Ask Household Hacker”:

HowtheWorldWorks invites you to make the case for why the YouTube community should listen to you when you vlog: 

Howcast wants your ideas for their next “how-to” video: 

Kina Grannis is looking for a poet to help write the lyrics for her next song: 

Michael Buckley wants to hear about your problems in love and life, because he thinks he can help:

Mystery Guitar Man is taking your ideas for what crazy instrument he should use in his next video:

Nick Kristof of the New York Times is open to your questions about his travels around the globe, and why a man like him so often writes about women’s rights issues: 

Stanford is offering up renowned cardiologist Dr. Euan Ashley to answer your questions about heart disease and other genetic-related disorders:

The Team Flight Brothers are looking for your nominations for the best (non-NBA) dunk ever: 

The Will of DC is turning over his entire “Winners and Losers” show to you this month - who do you think are YouTube’s biggest winners and losers? 

Have an idea for how you might use Moderator on your channel?  You can get started by going to your channel page and clicking on the "Modules" tab in the "Edit Channel" menu. 

For more details on how to set up your Moderator series, visit  And please note that in order to participate in a Moderator series, you'll need to be logged into a Google account that is linked to a YouTube account.

By Olivia Ma, YouTube News Manager, and Ginny Hunt, Product Manager, Moderator, recently watched “Cowrite with Kina - Part 1.

Since the BP oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, over six million gallons of oil have poured into the water. Now you can see what’s happening firsthand on YouTube, through a live stream of the leak on PBS NewsHour’s YouTube channel. Today, BP will begin their “top kill” procedure, which will attempt to drill mud into the well to block the flowing oil. Thanks to the urging of Congress, you’ll be able to witness the entire process in real-time on YouTube.

Now that you can see what’s going on, PBS and YouTube want you to
submit your best ideas, via Google Moderator, on how to stop this environmental catastrophe. PBS NewsHour will air some of the top YouTube submissions in their broadcast tomorrow evening and online:

Many of you have already come up with creative solutions on how to stop the leak or clean up the spill, and you’re using video to make these ideas come to life. Here are a few innovative examples:

Tune in to the live stream
here, and if you have ideas you think BP should hear, submit them before 5 p.m. (ET) tomorrow. For information on the oil spill, including the latest imagery of the spill and information on how you can help, visit

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism Manager, recently watched “
Oil Removal - It’s as Easy as Hay.”

Tonight, at 9.30 p.m. ET, we’re teaming up with (RED) to premiere the documentary “The Lazarus Effect” on the Join(RED) YouTube Channel.

The half-hour documentary, directed by Lance Bangs and executive produced by Spike Jonze, captures a series of powerful testimonials from HIV positive patients. Many of these stories seem like miracles, but they aren’t. They’re made possible through access to two pills a day -- two pills that cost just 40 cents.

“The Lazarus Effect” conveys a message of hope that needs to be heard by the world. That’s why this informative movie will be available globally on YouTube, with closed captions and translated in 52 languages through our automated translation tool.

Remember: for as little as 40 cents a day, we can win the fight against AIDS. We hope you will watch, discuss and share the film via YouTube. And may the experience also inspire you to take action.

Thomas Gayno, Marketing Manager, recently watched “Prague's Kafka International Named Most Alienating Airport.”

UPDATE (5/25/10): Here's the whole film:

Today a new territory is added to the list of YouTube locations: South Africa. This is the first domain launch on the African continent. For a closer look, head to the bottom of the page, click on the ‘Location’ tab, and select South Africa from the menu:

In practice, this means that South Africa-based channels like Freshlyground and Khayav should enjoy more profile locally, and at the same time should also find it easier to identify other local users. From now on when users in South Africa visit the localized site they will see, for example, the Most Popular and Most Viewed videos in South Africa along with local content that closely matches their interests.

In conjunction with launching our South African domain, we are teaming up with local broadcasters to ensure that YouTube users, wherever they may be, have access to some of the best locally produced content from leading local broadcasters. These include the South African Broadcasting Corporation and, who have uploaded news content including content about all the soccer fever building up in the country!

In addition, South African journalism schools, such as Rhodes Journalism School and Wits Journalism School, are also using YouTube to showcase aspiring journalists’ talent and highlight news items that are frequently under-reported:

All in all, we are pleased to be officially putting down roots in South Africa and look forward to working with South African users, partners and advertisers to make the YouTube community even bigger, even more diverse and even brighter than it is today.

Divon Lan, Product Manager, Africa, and Brian Truong, Product Manager, recently watched “YouTube Turns Five!” 

Five years ago, after months of late nights, testing and preparation, YouTube’s founders launched the first beta version of in May, with a simple mission: give anyone a place to easily upload their videos and share them with the world. Whether you were an aspiring filmmaker, a politician, a proud parent, or someone who just wanted to connect with something bigger, YouTube became the place where you could broadcast yourself.

Over time, these aspirations have created a vibrant and inspiring community that helped transform a murmur of interest into something far greater than any of us ever could have imagined. Today, thanks to you, our site has crossed another milestone: YouTube exceeds over two billion views a day. That’s nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major U.S. television networks combined.

What started as a site for bedroom vloggers and viral videos has evolved into a global platform that supports HD and 3D, broadcasts entire sports seasons live to 200+ countries. We bring feature films from Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers to far-flung audiences. Activists document social unrest seeking to transform societies, and leading civic and political figures stream interviews to the world.

To celebrate our birthday, today we’re launching the YouTube Five Year channel. There, you’ll find the “My YouTube Story” project which features people from all over describing how YouTube has changed or shaped their lives.

Please add your own story to the mix! You can upload your video here -- and it may be selected to appear on the channel’s video wall or map.

The channel also hosts an interactive timeline containing some of the most important moments and memes in our short history. It was tough to pick -- and just scratches the surface of all the amazing things that have happened on YouTube over the years. What else? We’ve asked a handful of luminaries like Conan O’Brien, Vint Cerf and Katie Couric to curate playlists showcasing their favorite videos on the subjects they know best. You can also check out our Infographic here; it contains lots of neat facts and figures.

Since we never could have predicted all that happened in YouTube’s first five years, we certainly can’t imagine what the future will look like. But we do know there’s a lot more to be done. For instance, we want to make it even easier for you to sort through and find the videos that matter to you. Although the average user spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube, that’s tiny compared to the five hours a day people spend watching TV. Clearly, we need to give you more reason to watch more videos! And we want to give you all the tools and support to make YouTube both your career and your community. After all, this is only the beginning of the video revolution. We’re just getting started.

The YouTube Team

An Egyptian man says it’s like flying freely through the street in your pajamas. A Burundian YouTube user compares it to striking guitar chords to make a beautiful melody. An Indian videographer says it’s like coming together over a cricket game. And a Polish citizen says it’s like a roll of toilet paper. Though their messages are as diverse as the countries they come from, all of these videos are aiming to define something that philosophers have spent centuries debating: what is democracy?

Once again this year, we’re partnering with the State Department and several civic organizations on the Democracy Video Challenge, a global contest that asks people to submit short videos that complete the sentence, “Democracy is...” Starting today, you can vote on your favorite videos from among 18 finalists. The six most popular entrants will fly to the U.S. for a tour of civic and film organizations in Washington, D.C., New York City and Hollywood.

Head over to the Democracy Video Challenge channel page to log your votes now. You can vote once per day until June 15; winners will be announced shortly after. But don’t just vote...leave your comments on the video to let these videographers know what you think of their work. The project is meant to start a discussion. Though there’s no one answer, it’s through dialogue that our understanding of democracy continues to evolve.

Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched “Learning with Socrates.”

Acclaimed indie rockers The National, whose new CD High Violet has already been lauded as "potential album of the year" and is currently topping digital sales charts, will be performing this Saturday night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of a VEVO event on YouTube. This benefit show was sold-out weeks ago, but you can still attend by joining the live webcast.

Get more details from the band’s Dylan-esque announcement below, directed by the same filmmaker (D.A. Pennebaker) who was at the helm of Don’t Look Back, the documentary about Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of England, and who will also direct the National’s YouTube webcast with his wife, Chris Hegedus (The War Room). In fact, that’s Pennebaker leaning against the wall in this video:

Proceeds from the concert, which is presented by ZYNC from American Express, will also benefit the AIDS-fighting organization Red Hot. Here, band members explain their connection to and passion for this important cause:

If you want to be sure to enjoy this concert with others, you can join the live Twitter chat during the show on, The band’s label, 4AD, is also posting listening party locations around the country.

However you decide to experience this special event, tune in here at 8 p.m. (ET) for the global broadcast and donate here to support Red Hot.

Michele Flannery, Music Manager, recently watched "A Skin, A Night"

Melinda teaches high school in the Bay Area and recently reached out to us with a problem. Her students just finished a video history project that she wanted to share with their parents and classmates. But she was concerned about posting the videos publicly because she didn’t want the whole world to find them (frankly, neither did her students). Melinda told us YouTube’s private sharing options -- a 25-person cap that’s limited to other YouTube users -- didn’t work for her. She needed a better option to privately share her students’ talent.

Later today, we'll be rolling out a new choice that will help Melinda and other people like her: unlisted videos. [Update: Unlisted videos are now available.]

With this feature, you can mark your videos as "unlisted." This means only people who have the link to the video will be able to watch it. It won’t appear in any of YouTube’s public pages, in search results, on your personal channel or on the browse page. It’s a private video, except you don’t need a YouTube account to watch it and there is no limit to the number of people who can view it. You’ll get a link when you upload the video and then it’s up to you to decide who to share it with. Unlisted is the perfect option for that class project, video from last summer’s family reunion or your secret Broadway audition tape.

Just remember, the video can be viewed by anyone with the link, so only give it to people you trust! For more information, check out our Help Center page.

Jen Chen, Software Engineer, recently watched “8-Bit Dr. Horrible (Act 1)

Kids and video go together like peanut butter and jelly, and our new Small Talk contest, made possible by the New Toyota Sienna, is set to pack even more fun into sharing family moments on YouTube. Small Talk is hosted by Ryan Seacrest, who invites you to capture hilarious and heartwarming clips from your family’s most outspoken young members. If your video wins the love of the YouTube community, you could win $10,000.

The good news is, you don’t need to spend hours coaxing the next “Charlie Bit My Finger”out of your loved ones. In fact, all fingers are safe in this contest. Small Talk is all about the funny things kids say. All you need to do is enter a video of your kid answering one or more questions from the list featured on the Small Talk channel.

The top entries will be featured on the Small Talk channel, and the YouTube community will vote for the one that charms and cheers the most. If you love sharing your kid's most memorable and charming moments, now is the time to record some Small Talk and share it with the world. The results could be very rewarding. You've got till June 20 to capture the magic. Good luck!

Lee Hadlow, Ad Programs Associate, is still tickled by “Surprised Kitty.”

America's Got Talent is looking for their next star on YouTube. The show known for giving Americans a platform to showcase their unique skills is doing a special YouTube edition, with a completely virtual audition process on YouTube. They’re looking for all types: musicians, dancers, animal acts, jugglers, magicians, comedians, performance artists, you name it...

Twelve acts will be chosen to perform live on a special America’s Got Talent/YouTube performance show on NBC on August 10. Eleven acts will be picked by the judges and one will be selected by your votes. There’s also a $1,000,000 prize for the victor.

You’ve got until June 23 to enter, so get out your camera, show off your skills, and upload your video today: Voting will begin on June 28.

We can’t wait to see what happens!

Sadia Harper, HowTo & Style Manager, recently watched “Nuttin’ But Stringz on AGT.”

The 9th annual Tribeca Film Festival came to a close earlier this week in lower Manhattan and we were proud to be a part of it. As a sponsor of the World Documentary Category, we supported the premieres of films from countries around the world that dealt with important issues ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the black market for falcons. We also spent time talking to filmmakers about opportunities to distribute their films on YouTube, which you can learn more about on our Filmmakers Wanted channel.

Fortunately, our partnership with Tribeca goes far beyond our sponsorship of the festival and we're delighted to let you know that six films from this year's festival are now available for rent on the Tribeca Film channel, as are numerous films from previous years.

Here's a snapshot of these newest Tribeca releases: 

In the year 2024, all of Europe is united by a vast web of underground railways, populated by an army of downtrodden worker bees. When one such cog starts hearing voices and encounters a femme fatale shampoo model who seems to hold some answers, he finds himself unearthing a vast Orwellian conspiracy in this visually arresting animated noir. With the voices of Vincent Gallo, Juliette Lewis, Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgård, and Alexander Skarsgård. 

Mahmud Nasir (comedian Omid Djalili) may not be the most observant Muslim but deep down he is a true believer. His life is capsized when he not only learns he was adopted, but also, even more scandalous, that his birth mother was Jewish and his given name was Solly Shimshillewitz. As Mahmud tumbles into a full-scale identity crisis, a true comedy of religious errors unfolds. With Richard Schiff and Matt Lucas. 

Mat Whitecross (codirector of The Road to Guantanamo) paints a stylized, ripsnorting portrait of mercurial British punk rock pioneer Ian Dury (portrayed by BAFTA nominee Andy Serkis). From a troubled childhood and a battle with debilitating polio to the effects of fame on relationships and fatherhood, here are the highs and lows of a life lived sneeringly, unapologetically out loud. With Olivia Williams, Ray Winstone, and Naomie Harris. 

Like most high schoolers, Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel, Tropic Thunder) is having an identity crisis. What differentiates Leon, however, is that he believes he is the reincarnation of Soviet thinker Leon Trotksy and predestined to follow the same path as his namesake. Tackling issues from students' rights to semi-formal dances, this "revolutionary" comedy will have you united in laughter. 

Loath to take over the family hair-oil business, young Vishnu jumps at the chance to drive his uncle's beat-up Chevy truck across India to its new owner. The young runaway, wandering old entertainer and beautiful woman he picks up along the way make for a magical journey that will change Vishnu's life. With the sumptuous landscape of India as his canvas, director Dev Benegal paints a delightfully original road movie.  

Sara Pollack, Entertainment Marketing Manager, recently watched "The Sandpit."

Season three of the Indian Premier League (IPL) ended last week when the Chennai Super Kings beat the Mumbai Indians in the final match. That game brought to a close a fast-paced and fun season of cricket, which was available for the first time on the IPL channel on YouTube.

Over the course of the season, the IPL channel racked up nearly 55 million views from 200 countries and territories around the globe, blowing away our expectations. But perhaps most surprising for us was the popularity of the IPL finals in the U.S., where the sport has a relatively small cult following: views from the U.S. of the IPL channel for the semi finals and finals actually exceeded views from India, where the sport is hugely popular.

Here are some additional stats you might find interesting:
  • On the day of the final match, the IPL channel got about four million views.
  • The majority of users who viewed the final watched it in real-time.
  • The IPL channel is now the #1 most subscribed channel in India of all time.
  • U.S. was second only to India in terms of total channel views for the entire season.
Before we launched the IPL channel on YouTube, we anticipated a total of around 10 million streams for the entire season. Your views beat our goals by over 5x. Thanks to everyone for tuning in.

Amit Agrawal, Strategic Partner Development Manager, recently watched "2010 IPL Final: Awards Ceremony.”

Diane von Furstenberg is a legendary fashion designer, and she’s also a big believer in celebrating women. With Mother’s Day around the corner, we’re thrilled that she’s serving as the Video Volunteers guest curator for this month, and asking you to create videos for organizations that support women.

Every day on YouTube, we view women standing up for what they believe in and challenging inequality: from this Saudi Arabian woman driving a car as an act of protest; to Queen Rania of Jordan combating stereotypes of the Middle East. Now we want you to make your voice heard. Create a video about your favorite organization that supports women -- whether it promotes equal pay for equal work, helps women run for elected office, or furthers efforts to outlaw female genital mutilation -- and upload it to the Video Volunteers channel.

The top three videos will appear on the YouTube homepage at the end of the month, next to Diane von Furstenberg’s video for Vital Voices. Hear more from her about how you can get involved:

The deadline to submit your video is May 26, so check out to find an inspirational organization you can help. After all, service never goes out of style.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism Manager, recently watched “The Girl Effect.”