Google's New 'YouTube Slam' Creates Video Duels

By Monica Gleberman December 28, 2011

Google has officially unveiled YouTube Slam, an interactive video discovery tool that randomly spits out two videos at the same time to have one-on-one battles. Two videos will enter the YouTube Slam area each time you refresh the video section, but only one will leave, determined by public voting.

Each time a video wins a battle it will move up on the YouTube Slam leader board. As explained on the official YouTube blog, YouTubeSlam is a little video discovery experiment created in collaboration with the folks of Google Research. “It simply means that you are asked to decide which of the two videos presented to you is cuter, weirder, and so on. The clips are scored based on your votes, and the best videos are featured on the leader board,” said Google.

As you vote for videos, you’ll earn points for predicting the crowd favorites. You’ll be able to see just how good your choices are when you check the player leader board at the end of each week.

YouTube describes Slam as a “place for discovering talented amateur singers, the most adorable clips, and the craziest videos on YouTube.” Users can play with Slam in one of five categories: bizarre, comedy, cute, dance, and music.

Experts say this move was designed to keep visitors on YouTube for longer and deepen their ties to the website. “You could help uncover the next big thing,” said firm’s software engineer, Tomas Izo.

YouTube still ranks as the Internet’s most popular video website by a wide margin. A study by Comscore suggested that close to 88.3 billion clips were viewed on YouTube’s pages in October – accounting for roughly two in every five videos viewed online.

Mark Mulligan, media analyst at the Music Industry Blog, said he believes this new service being offered by YouTube is to keep an active audience, building on the kind of activity that users have become accustomed to through social networks such as Facebook.

“For the vast majority of us we go to the site and watch a video or two and come out again. But for the five to seven percent of Internet users, YouTube is almost like their main social destination – they have profile pages, they upload their videos, they make comments, they like and dislike,” said Mulligan.

Mulligan said it will take some time before YouTube knows if this new Slam idea becomes something popular or just fades away.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Contributing Writer

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