YouTube Will Start Hiding Dislike Counts From Public

Some months back YouTube announced that it would begin experimenting with the notion of hiding the number of down votes or dislikes that displayed content receives.

At present for most of the content on the platform the number of “thumbs down” votes is displayed alongside the number of “thumbs up” votes that a given video receives.

Having experimented with it for a while now the company has decided to proceed. So you’ll notice a growing percentage of content available that only shows the number of “thumbs up” it gets. Content creators will still be able to see the number of “thumbs down” votes on the back end but those numbers will no longer be available for public consumption.

According to various statements the company has made along the way the goal here is to cut off a potential vector for harassment. Based on the comments found in many videos a significant percentage of users left message saying something to the effect of “I just came here to leave a dislike.”

While there’s merit in the company’s thinking it hides a slightly more selfish purpose as well. In all of YouTube history the single most disliked video is the company’s own “Rewind from 2018” video. In fact that video earned so much negative press that the company has since opted to cancel their Rewind videos altogether.

YouTube is certainly not the first company to make the decision to hide negative rating metrics. Twitter for example allows users to hide the number of likes a tweet gets at the poster’s option.

No matter what your opinion is it is important to stress that as a content creator you’ll still have access to that information. The hope is simply that it won’t be used by viewers to create a negative feedback loop.

Youtube Video Downloads May Be Coming To Computers

If you use the YouTube app on your phone and you’re a premium subscriber you’ve currently got the ability to download videos from the service. As of this date however those are the only people who have the ability to download videos.

Even if you’ve subscribed to the premium service there is no download function. That’s even if you access your account from your PC.

Recently YouTube decided to change that by adding the download function to the desktop experience so that it mirrors the app-based experience.

The new feature is already in place. So if you are a premium subscriber all you’ve got to do is to click on the share options below the video. Another option is alongside the “three dot” menu and you’ll see the new download option. Any videos you download from YouTube will be stored in your offline library where you can organize and sort them as you see fit.

Note that you’ll also be able to specify the resolution of the downloaded video and choose between 144p to 1080p. Significantly there is no 4k download option available. The good news is that there doesn’t appear to be any file size limitations beyond the available space you have on your hard drive.

The new feature is not browser specific. So whatever browser you use you should be able to download YouTube videos without difficulty. Again assuming that you’re a premium subscriber.

It may not be a feature you use terribly often but it is handy and convenient and when you need it you’ll probably really need it. Kudos to Google for continuing the good work of improving overall user experience and for making that experience seamless across multiple platforms.

It may not be something that will be sufficient to prompt most people to pay for the subscription service. However if you’re already paying the monthly fee it’s a nice perk that hasn’t been available to desktop users until now.

Google Play Music Changing To YouTube Music By December 2020

Google has been planning to consolidate its holdings for a long while now, and part of that process includes doing away with Google Play Music and rolling it into YouTube Music.

The company’s original music service now has an official end of life date: December of 2020.

Not to worry though, the company is keeping pricing the same, and you can seamlessly and relatively painlessly switch from Google Play Music to YouTube Music. This includes having your playlists, all of your recommendations, liked and disliked songs copied over so your preferences will remain intact. Any saved stations associated with your account and of course, all of your uploads and purchases will copy over as well.

Although you may not realize it, the transition has already begun. If you have a Google Play Music account, you now also have a YouTube Music account. All you have to do to move the relevant bits of your old Play Music account over is log into YouTube Music and select the “Transfer” button. If you happen not to see a transfer button, you can navigate to that window simply by adding “/transfer” to the end of your YouTube Music URL.

Once the page loads, you’ll see everything that is to be moved across, and all you have to do is click the button to begin. Depending on the size of your playlists, the number of preferences, and saved stations and such, the process could take up to several hours. For most people, it will probably be wrapped up much more quickly than that.

Then, if you prefer, just keep on using Google Play Music until it expires, or go ahead and make the switch now.

In anticipation of Google Play Music’s impending retirement, by the end of this month (August 2020) you will no longer be able to purchase or pre-order music using the old Google Play Music site. So if you plan on doing that, you’ll probably want to make the switch early to retain full functionality. It’s not so much saying goodbye to an old friend, as it is saying hello to an improved one.

Watch Out for Fake YouTube Channels Asking For Bitcoin

A group of highly organized scammers have commandeered a pair of Youtube channels and renamed them to “SpaceX Live” and “SpaceX” in order to capitalize on the popularity of Elon Musk and his SpaceX company. SpaceX made headlines recently with their manned launch out of Florida. Over the course of just two days, the scammers were able to collect nearly $150,000 in bitcoins.

Here’s how the scam works:

It’s fairly common knowledge that Elon Musk is a fan of cryptocurrency, and the group, impersonating Musk, uses the pirated channels to promise managed investments. You send them a small amount of bitcoin, and they promise spectacular investment returns.

Once taken over, the two channels were loaded with recorded videos of Elon Musk found elsewhere. Taken together, the two channels have nearly half a million subscribers. While that’s a far cry from the more than four million subscribers that the official SpaceX channel boasts, it’s certainly large enough to be significant. The scammers’ efforts have been wildly successful.

Fortunately, this scam is easy to avoid. Simply don’t buy into the hype. If you’re going to purchase any type of cryptocurrency, do it through a legitimate exchange.

Even so, that’s sometimes easier said than done. Some people get caught up in the excitement, and in a moment, will be drawn by the lure of easy returns and get careless. If you can avoid that, you can avoid the scam.

Given the success the group has had, we’re almost certain to see copycat efforts going forward. Just be mindful of where you are on the web, stay alert, don’t get drawn in by the hype, and you should be fine. Unfortunately, there has been no word from Google yet on when the two channels will be deactivated, and as of the writing of this piece, both are still active.

YouTube Will Soon Stop Displaying Ads Targeted At Kids

Earlier this year, Google, the parent company of YouTube, found itself in hot water for YouTube’s violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPA). They got in trouble for their data collection practices and the fact that the company allowed third-party ads to run rampant on videos that were more likely to be viewed by children under the age of thirteen.

As a result of the violation, the FTC and Google reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount of money, described by sources close to the matter as a “multimillion-dollar fine.”  Since then, YouTube has been in the process of revising their advertising policies and procedures.

Recently, the company has reported that they’re finalizing changes to how ads are displayed on their site. Even better, they’re outright banning advertising on videos that are more likely to be viewed by children. This is the latest in a series of moves YouTube has been making since they were found to be in violation of COPA.  They began by closing comments on video clips starring children, and then proceeded to limit recommendations “on videos that it deems as putting children at risk.”

Even with this most recent change, a variety of consumer groups have claimed that YouTube’s actions to date have been insufficient. There’s a groundswell movement afoot that’s pressing the company to move all child-focused videos into a separate “YouTube Kids” site, complete with its own app.  Thus far, the company has been reluctant to take that step. However, the consumer groups are quite correct to point out that YouTube’s actions to date have been less than spectacular.

The biggest issue with their latest plan is simply this:  How does one differentiate between a children’s video and one that isn’t?  What specific criteria are used to make that determination?

Unfortunately, the company has opted not to share those details to this point.