SciTechBlog

YouTube down for some users during relaunch

Last week, Wikipedia crashed, panicking college students everywhere.

Now, those of us who turn to the Internet for distraction are being dealt a blow: If you tried to visit YouTube Wednesday evening, chances are good you were served with an error page. This comes a week after another widespread YouTube outage, which Google said was due to a technical issue.

No need to panic. A fancy redesigned YouTube is on its way, according to a post on YouTube's official weblog.

YouTube is changing its video pages to introduce a few new features, including a playlist interface and revamped rating system, which favors a "like/dislike" rating system over a star ranking.

It’s a change eight months in the making, according to Shiva Rajaraman, a senior product manager at YouTube. He says the redesigned page is the result of an increasingly cluttered video page. "We launched more features in 2009 than in past years combined, and the page got very crowded," said Rajaraman.

The change is intended to benefit not only video consumers, but also creators. "Uploaders were starting to complain about an experience that wasn't really apt for their content," said Rajaraman. Uploaders will see an improved upload experience with the new rollout.

But change can be scary, and YouTube realizes that making changes to a site that sees over a billion page views every day can be upsetting. Chris Dale, a YouTube spokesman, says it's evolution that keeps the site relevant. "We have to continue to keep the site fresh, and keep people engaged, and I think as we sort of blaze trails in the world of online video we feel pretty strongly that we want to keep to a fresh set of standards, and keep people used to and engaged in new experiences," he said.

In addition to the new features, the post says the overall look and functionality of the video page will be "cleaner, simpler and easier to use." See for yourself here.

So, relax - you'll be back to watching babies dancing to Beyonce in no time.