YouTube is rolling out a new feature today that allows viewers to switch between multiple viewing angles. While extremely limited right now, it's a great idea and an indication of how watching content online can be more interactive than anywhere else.
"We've been tinkering with the concept for years now," a spokesperson for YouTube said. To make this work, YouTube is able to combine multiple videos on one timeline, allowing the instantaneous switchover between views. "The news today is there to put out the call to creators to see if they want to try it."
This is still firmly in experimental stages. The feature is limited to viewing one video, from a Madilyn Bailey concert, on your desktop. (I've never heard of Madilyn Bailey. I think that means I'm cool, but it could also mean I've lost my edge.) The song is forgettable, but I did enjoy clicking around her face for its entirety.
Obviously, there's a host of possibilities that come with being able to upload five different feeds in one video. YouTube is an unpredictable place, and it's a near guarantee that once it's in the hands of thousands (or millions) of people, it will lead to something we won't see coming. That being said, the real draw here would be in live events, which YouTube has been picking up since 2011. Their broadcasts of events like Coachella already have an element of this — you can click around and see what's going on in multiple locations at the same time. Adding multiple angles to each specific concert would be a unique experience.
It also ties in with YouTube's recently reported plans to support 360-degree video. Things are getting experimental, and it's going to be interesting. If this makes it to a wider release, the world will look a lot more like a video game.
It's very cool. If you make content, you should reach out to YouTube.
Brendan Klinkenberg is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Brendan Klinkenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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