IN THIS CHAPTER
» Navigating the basics of the YouTube interface
» Watching YouTube videos
» Creating a YouTube account
» Setting up a unique channel URL
» Checking out the YouTube Partner Program
What You’ll Find on YouTube
You’ll find, in a word, videos on YouTube. You’ll find, in several words, just about anything on YouTube. We would say that you’ll find anything you can imagine, but even we never would have imagined that anyone would make a compilation of animal clips from the defunct app Vine, and we definitely would never have imag- ined that the compilation would have been viewed over 214 million times. The best way to describe what’s on YouTube may be to start with the categories that You- Tube lists on its home page.
Managing your identity
Your entire YouTube experience is driven by whether YouTube knows who you are. It doesn’t use any magic to figure it out. Instead, YouTube simply determines whether you’re logged in or logged out. When you log in, YouTube can make video recommendations based on your viewing behavior. In other words, after YouTube knows what you like, it does its best to bring more of that great video content to you.
YouTube and its parent, Google, are in the advertising business and are not pro- moting online video for the betterment of mankind (though some channels on YouTube actually help achieve that goal). By understanding your viewing behavior when you’re logged in, YouTube and Google are able to serve better and more rel- evant ads to you. That’s good for them, for the advertiser, and for the viewer. Sure, most people don’t like ads, but YouTube is truly trying to do a better job of target- ing ads. (Chapter 13 covers this topic in more detail.)
As you can see in this chapter and throughout the book, you need to be logged in to do most of the important things on YouTube. Sure, you can watch videos with- out being logged in, but you’ll miss a good part of the experience. You need a Google account to log in, and we show you how to set up one of those a little later in this chapter, in the section “Working with a YouTube Account.” You also have the option to create a YouTube channel for an existing Google account.
You don’t need a YouTube channel to log in to YouTube — you just need a Google account. Having a channel though, as you’ll soon find out, helps you organize your YouTube viewing without having to create any videos.