YouTube is working on a major update to the site
both visually and under the hood. The team provided us with an update of the progress on the new homepage a couple of days ago and, now, YouTube is showcasing some of the features that have been enabled on the site recently but that aren't directly related to the visual revamp. Chief among them is a better Facebook Connect integration that enables users to see on YouTube what videos their friends are sharing on Facebook.
"You've been able to connect your YouTube account to your Facebook account for a while now in order to AutoShare or to find friends to subscribe to. Less known is that the YouTube homepage can show you the YouTube videos your friends are sharing on Facebook; we've kept this under the radar while we've ramped up support. But now, when you log in to your YouTube account, you'll get a prominent invitation in the Recent Activity module (see below) to connect to Facebook," the video site explained
in a blog post.
The Facebook integration was pretty much one way until now. Users could enable AutoShare to easily send the YouTube videos they liked to their friends via Facebook status updates. But the flow of data going the other way around was rather limited, with YouTube only accessing the users' Facebook friends list to help them connect on the video site as well. With the new Facebook Connect integration, YouTube will also look for videos shared on the social network by friends and list them on the YouTube homepage.
This isn't everything that's new on YouTube. The AutoShare feature got a pretty big update, as the sharing is now done in real time. It used to take up to ten minutes from when a user chose to share items until they reached Twitter or Facebook. Now, the update is instantaneous. There were also a couple of updates that are of more interest to publishers and users who actively upload videos.