TIME viral

This Video of a Guy Proposing in a Photo Booth Is the Sweetest Thing You’ll See Today

"What do we do for this one? Smile?"

When Kevin Moran decided to propose to his high school sweetheart Tuesday, he didn’t employ a Broadway bound flashmob or get down on a knee in the center of a heart made up of 99 brand new iPhone 6s.

Rather, Moran took his girlfriend Molly to a photo booth to pop the question.

Watch the short, sweet and Internet approved video above.

TIME motherhood

YouTube CEO: America Needs Paid Maternity Leave

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 2
Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki speak onstage during "Who Owns Your Screen?" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on October 9, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Kimberly White--Getty Images for Vanity Fair) Kimberly White—Getty Images for Vanity Fair

It's not just good for women, it's good for business

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday reminding everyone that paid maternity leave isn’t just good for women, it’s good for business.

She cited a 2011 survey from California’s Center for Economic and Policy Research that found that, after California implemented paid leave, 91% of businesses said the policy had either a positive effect on profitability, or no effect at all. Wojcicki, who was the first Google employee to go on maternity leave and now runs YouTube, which is owned by Google, says she’s seen this firsthand:

That last point is one we’ve seen at Google. When we increased paid maternity leave to 18 from 12 weeks in 2007, the rate at which new moms left Google fell by 50%. (We also increased paternity leave to 12 weeks from seven, as we know that also has a positive effect on families and our business.) Mothers were able to take the time they needed to bond with their babies and return to their jobs feeling confident and ready. And it’s much better for Google’s bottom line—to avoid costly turnover, and to retain the valued expertise, skills and perspective of our employees who are mothers.

Best of all, mothers come back to the workforce with new insights. I know from experience that being a mother gave me a broader sense of purpose, more compassion and a better ability to prioritize and get things done efficiently. It also helped me understand the specific needs and concerns of mothers, who make most household spending decisions and control more than $2 trillion of purchasing power in the U.S.

As Wojcicki notes, paid maternity leave can reduce risk of post-partum depression, keep babies healthy, and encourage mothers to stay in the workplace, yet only 12% of private workers and 5% of low-income workers in the U.S. have access to these benefits. Every other developed nation in the world has government-mandated paid maternity leave, and when the UN‘s International Labor Organization surveyed the maternity leave policies of 185 nations, the U.S. was one of two countries that don’t guarantee paid maternity leave. Papua New Guinea is the other.

She wants America to get cracking on paid maternity leave, stat.

[WSJ]

TIME Advertising

How Facebook Is Going to Battle With YouTube

Facebook Said to Plan IPO Filing for as Early as Coming Week
In this file photo the Facebook Inc. logo is reflected in the eyeglasses of a user in this arranged photo in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook is suddenly a serious player in video

Facebook is well on its way to developing its next big cash cow, and it has nothing to do with the social network’s splashy billion-dollar purchases of messaging and virtual reality startups.

This year, the company dusted off its oft-neglected video feature and quickly made auto-playing clips ubiquitous in users’ News Feeds (with a big assist from the wildly viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge). People are now watching videos uploaded directly to Facebook one billion times per day — and that big number is starting to whet marketers’ appetites. As the social network ratchets up its plan to lure brands to place video ads on the site, its efforts could eventually threaten YouTube, which has dominated the online video space for nearly a decade.

This holiday season, Facebook is partnering with brands such as fashion design house Kate Spade and retailer Gap to develop targeted video ads that play automatically in users’ feeds. The Kate Spade spot, a two-and-half minute short starring Anna Kendrick, has managed to rack up 1.8 million views and 49,000 likes, comments and shares since launching in November. A YouTube version of the commercial released the same day has about 150,000 views. (Facebook’s view metrics automatically lean in the social network’s favor because videos auto-play by default and only have to be seen for three seconds to register as a view; a Google spokesperson says a YouTube video must be watched “many times longer” to count as a view).

Kate Spade’s new spot was the first time the brand used Facebook’s native video player instead just posting a YouTube link onto Facebook. Chief Marketing Officer Mary Beech says the company is happy with the results, which came from a mix of paid promotion and organic sharing by users. Kate Spade now intends to launch another video ad on Facebook in the spring. “Facebook has been wonderful in terms of the shares,” Beech says.

Facebook’s video pitch to marketers is much the same as it’s always been: thanks to the social network’s massive trove of user data, Facebook believes it can show video ads to precisely those people who will be most receptive to them. “[Marketers] are looking at Facebook to deliver very personalized messages,” says Nicolas Franchet, head of retail and e-commerce on Facebook’s global vertical marketing team. “Video is now one of the ways they can do that.”

Videos also give Facebook another key data point it can use to try to ferret out its users’ intent. For example, Kate Spade was able to serve ads for certain products featured in the Anna Kendrick commercial specifically to users who saw the video. “If you’ve viewed a video, you’ve certainly formed some sort of interest in the brand and so the brand can capitalize on that,” Franchet says.

While Facebook has found fast success with video, YouTube continues to lead in the space by many metrics. An analysis of 10 holiday ad campaigns by the advertising research firm Unruly found that that the commercials earned 13 million views on Facebook, but about 32 million on YouTube. The YouTube versions of the videos were also shared more across the Internet, gaining 630,000 shares compared to 530,000 shares for the Facebook versions. And in terms of raw usage, YouTube is still king—the video site had 4 billion views per day way back in 2012, compared to Facebook’s current 1 billion (YouTube no longer regularly discloses overall viewcounts, but the amount of content being uploaded per minute to the site has quintupled since 2012). Compared to Facebook’s videos, YouTube videos are easier to find weeks or months after they’ve been posted, and they’re easier to embed on websites or competing social networks.

“With YouTube watch time up 50% [year-over-year] and data showing that people are watching more ads than ever, advertisers are finding that their campaigns have staying power on YouTube,” a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

But Facebook’s video ambitions are still young, and the company has some key advantages that previous YouTube competitors lacked. With more than 1 billion monthly users each, Facebook and YouTube already boast similar scale globally. Facebook also drives some portion of YouTube’s traffic and could use its control of the News Feed to give its own videos preference over YouTube ones (Facebook videos are already the only ones that auto-play, and they appear as larger posts within the News Feed). And Facebook has reportedly been trying to use its substantial amount of cash (its annual revenue now exceeds $11 billion) to poach YouTube stars to get them to make Facebook-exclusive content.

Still, experts say the two sites currently offer different video viewing experiences. “If you go to YouTube, you’re kind of in a serach mode. You kind of want to sit back and watch something,” says Debra Aho Williamson, a social media analyst at eMarketer “On Facebook, it’s all about discovery–almost serendipity. It’s kind of a different mindset.”

Brands will likely continue to experiment on both platforms. Kate Spade, for instance, used portions of that Anna Kendrick ad to create pre-roll spots to place on YouTube. But with finite ad dollars available, companies will have to make a conscious decision about where they spend their online video ad money. And for the first time in a long time, the answer isn’t necessarily YouTube by default.

TIME Social Media

This Is the Best New Feature YouTube Has Added in Years

YouTube
A picture shows a You Tube logo on December 4, 2012 during LeWeb Paris 2012 in Saint-Denis near Paris. AFP—AFP/Getty Images

Convert a video into a GIF in two mouseclicks

YouTube has quietly launched a new GIF creation feature that could trigger an explosion of looping, frenetic clips across the web.

The GIF creator tab, now available on a limited selection of videos, makes selecting and sharing a clip dangerously tempting. The feature is buried in the “Share” tab, beside the usual options to share by “Email” or “Embed.” A new tab labeled “GIF” shows the video laid out frame-by-frame like a film strip. Drag two sliding brackets around any 6 seconds worth of frames and voila, the GIF appears readymade along with shareable links.

The feature was first spotted by former Kickstarter CTO Andy Baio, who enthusiastically spread the news to his Twitter following. So far it only appears beneath a tiny subset of YouTube videos, including some from PBS Idea Channel and Epic Rap Battles of History. Fans of the GIF rejoice, and have patience.

TIME Media

We Hope YouTube Launches This Cool New Feature Worldwide

YouTube
A businessman browses Google Inc.?s YouTube website using an Apple iPhone, made by Apple Inc., in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Thursday, Aug.19, 2010. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some countries are getting offline viewing

Google is rolling out a neat new feature for YouTube users — but only in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

People in those markets will now be able to download select YouTube videos for offline viewing for 48 hours, the company announced Thursday.

Google is targeting these markets first because data connections there are less consistent than in other parts of the world. “Making these popular videos available for offline playback will help people move past the challenges of data connection, speed and cost to enjoy a smooth, buffer-free version of their favorite content,” the company wrote in a blog post.

While YouTube offline viewing is a feature people in other markets would probably enjoy as well, Google’s post makes no mention of a global rollout. Considering offline viewing is a paid-for feature in YouTube’s new subscription streaming service, we may never have such functionality offered for free in the U.S.

TIME Media

These Were the Most Popular Videos on YouTube in 2014

A mutant spider dog takes the crown

A cute puppy playing with a Clydesdale, an overly flexible iPhone 6 Plus and a deranged robotic baby were among the videos we watched most on YouTube this year. The Google-owned website has released its annual list of the most popular videos of the year, and they cover a wide range of topics. At the top of the charts is the much-feared Mutant Spider Dog, a video in which a Polish prankster dressed his dog up as a giant tarantula and terrified unsuspecting passerby.

The top 10 wasn’t determined by view count alone, but rather by a more nebulous formula that includes “views, shares, comments, likes and more,” according to YouTube. That means that some videos that didn’t earn an eye-popping amount of views, like the recording of a woman being catcalled in the streets of New York, still made the list because they sparked so much interest on social media. The list also speaks to the increasing power that brands have on social networks. Four of the videos on the list are ads, including spots by Nike and Budweiser.

Here’s the full list:

1. Mutant Giant Spider Dog (SA Wardega) by SA Wardega

2. Nike Football: Winner Stays by Nike Football

3. First Kiss

4. The Voice IT | Serie 2 | Blind 2 | Suor Cristina Scuccia – #TEAMJ-AX

5. iPhone 6 Plus Bend Test

6. Bars & Melody – Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer act | Britain’s Got Talent 2014

7. Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — “Puppy Love”

8. Devil Baby Attack

9. Goku vs. Superman. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 3

10. 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman

YouTube also ranked the top 10 music videos of the year, which included hits by Katy Perry, Shakira and Taylor Swift. Full list below:

1. Katy Perry – Dark Horse ft. Juicy J

2. Enrique Iglesias – Bailando (Español) ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente De Zona

3. Shakira – Can’t Remember to Forget You ft. Rihanna

4. Shakira – La La La (Brazil 2014) ft. Carlinhos Brown

5. Jason Derulo – Wiggle ft. Snoop Dogg

6. Iggy Azalea – Fancy ft. Charli XCX

7. Sia – Chandelier

8. Taylor Swift – Shake It Off

9. Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass

10. Nicki Minaj – Anaconda

 

TIME Social Networking

Facebook Video Uploads Reportedly Overtake YouTube

Facebook Annouces A New Product
A Facebook employee demonstrates the new Instagram video option during a press event at Facebook headquarters on June 20, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

New data suggests users are bypassing YouTube and uploading videos directly to social media

Facebook users uploaded more videos directly to their social media feed rather than pull videos from YouTube, according to new data that suggests Facebook is becoming the platform of choice for video sharing.

Social media analysts at Socialbakers tracked data across 20,000 Facebook pages belonging to public figures and companies. They observed a drop in the share of videos coming from YouTube as the number of videos coming directly from users increased, Business Insider reports.

For the first time, user-uploaded videos surpassed YouTube videos in November. The shift comes not long after Facebook tweaked its video playback feature so that scenes would begin playing automatically as the user scrolled through the page.

Read more at Business Insider.

TIME technology

YouTube Reportedly Paying Big Money to Keep Top Stars

YouTube

Pitched effort to stop competitors from poaching talent

YouTube is offering its celebrities bonuses in exchange for multi-year exclusivity contracts, according to a new report, amid fears that some of its biggest stars will be lured away by competing video platforms.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reports that YouTube has “been in a fire drill” in recent weeks to prevent its stars from defecting to competitors like Facebook and Vessel. YouTube stars say competing offers have been “incredibly attractive.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

TIME viral

‘Gangnam Style’ Has Had So Many Views That It Broke YouTube

The viral K-Pop hit surpassed 2 billion views, prompting the site to expand its counter to over 9 quintillion

Update appended

Remember “Gangnam Style,” the viral music video by Korean pop star Psy that took the world by storm two years ago? Well, it just hit more views on YouTube this week than the site’s creators thought a single video would ever get.

The video has now been watched more than 2.15 billion times (2,156,711,995 times as of this writing), prompting YouTube to announce that it will increase its maximum viewing limit to more than 9 quintillion.

“We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer (=2,147,483,647 views), but that was before we met PSY,” the video-streaming website said in a statement on Monday, explaining that the computer data units it uses to count views of its videos have now been doubled to a 64-bit integer.

UPDATE: YouTube said Friday morning that its statement was intended as a joke, Variety reports. “It’s an easter egg,” a representative said. “We updated the counter to 64-bit months ago.”

TIME Internet

Listen to the Hit Songs of 2014 in Just 2.5 Minutes

The Vine phenomenon covers all the songs.

Us the Duo, the Vine phenomenon that covers hit songs in social-media friendly six second loops known as #6SecondCovers, has expanded their time frame to cover all of the hits from 2014 in just two-and-a-half minutes.

In the video, the husband and wife team of Michael and Carissa Alvarado seamlessly blend parts of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” with Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars”, Sia’s “Chandelier”, Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”, and more. Remember way back at the beginning of this year when Pharrell’s “Happy” was inescapable? It’s in the mix along with John Legend, Ariane Grande, Nico & Vinz, Magic!, Clean Bandit, and Maroon 5.

Us The Duo signed a deal with Republic Records in March, becoming the first Vine artists to get picked up by a major label.

MORE:

Top 10 Best Songs of 2014

Top 10 Worst Songs of 2014

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser