Google Research Team Creates “aLOLgorithm” to Measure YouTube Videos’ Hilarity

By Megan O'Neill 

There are a ton of funny videos on YouTube, but which are the most hilarious?  How would you quantify funniness?  Is ‘Surprised Kitty’ funnier than the ‘Sneezing Baby Panda’?  Where does ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ fall on the funny scale?  Google Research decided to find out so they created an algorithm to quantify comedy.

Sanketh Shetty of the YouTube Slam Team writes on the Google Research blog, “We focused on videos uploaded in the comedy category.  We captured the uploader’s belief in the funniness of their video via features based on title, description and tags.  Viewers’ reaction, in the form of comments, further validate a video’s comedic value.”  These included taking data into account such as sounds like “hahaha” that are associated with laughter, web acronyms such as lol and lmao, happy emoticons and more.  But the most amusing part is their analysis of lolz:

“Raw viewcount on its own is insufficient as a ranking metric since it is biased by video age and exposure.  We noticed that viewers emphasize their reaction to funny videos in several ways: e.g. capitalization (LOL), elongation (loooooool), repetition (lolololol), exclamation (lolllll!!!!!), and combinations thereof.  If a user uses and ‘loooooool’ vs an ‘loool’, does it mean they were more amused?  We designed features to quantify the degree of emphasis on words associated with amusement in viewer comments.  We then trained a passive-aggressive ranking algorithm using human-annotated pairwise ground truth and a combination of text and audiovisual features.  Similar to Music Slam, we used this ranker to populate candidates for human voting for our Comedy Slam.”

YouTubers can vote for the funniest videos on YouTube (according to the “aLOLgorithm”) in head-to-head competitions on YouTube’s Comedy Slam.

After they were handpicked by the algorithm and voted on, which videos have surfaces as the funniest videos on YouTube?  Check out the Top 5 below and let us know what you think.  What’s the funniest video you’ve ever seen on YouTube?

#1: No No No No Cat

#2: Guy gets Killed By Bear

#3: Marshmallow Murder

#4: Old Man Shuffling

Angry Italian man!

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.