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YouTube Unveils New Look

The popular video sharing site now has an easier, more intuitive interface that highlights its new Channels feature.

The Internet's most popular video site--and the second most popular site, period, according to owner Google--has finally gotten an image overhaul. YouTube unveiled its new look, which features gray navigation bars, on Thursday.

YouTube announced the renovation on its blog: "So, today we're introducing a new homepage, Channel design and a fresh coat of digital paint."

The new design makes YouTube's website much easier to navigate--not that that's really saying much. YouTube's old site design was basically videos in a grid on a plain, white background--there wasn't a lot of order. While users could navigate by clicking light gray buttons at the top of the page to see recent activity, subscriptions, and recommendations, the homepage was mostly an overwhelming jumble of images and text.

Now, YouTube has a dark gray sidebar on the left side of the page, where users can see their subscribed channels. Clicking on a link on the left side of the page (there's also "Trending" and "Popular Channels" links, in addition to users' subscribed channels) changes the content in the center column, where videos appear in a list rather than a grid. There's also a right-hand sidebar with "Recommended" videos.

YouTube's new design highlights Channels, focusing on helping users find and organize Channels they're subscribed to. Users can now browse for Channels by category, with categories such as Fashion and Beauty, Causes and Non-profits, and Music to choose from.

In case you're wondering what Channels are, they're YouTube's answer to big-wig content providers such as Hulu Plus and Netflix. Because Google couldn't get any of the major networks to produce original content for its video-sharing site, it decided to produce its own content--hence, Channels. Channels feature TV-sitcom-length videos that range from comedic to informative, and include such names as Bleacher Report, Slate News, and TEDEducation.

"More and more, behind every great video is a great Channel, and with our announcement last month that more of them are coming to YouTube, we want to make it easier for you to find and keep tabs of what you want to watch," YouTube wrote on its blog Thursday.

This overhaul is part of the largest renovation YouTube has undertaken since Google purchased the video-sharing site five years ago, according to the Associated Press.

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