Quick Guide To The New YouTube Playlist Features

By Megan O'Neill 

Playlists are one of the most useful YouTube tools out there.  Not only are they a great way to compile themes lists of your favorite videos, but they’re also awesome for giving your own videos more exposure.

Back in 2010 we published a Complete Guide To YouTube Playlists, covering everything from the benefits of creating playlists to how to make playlists.  Over the past couple of weeks YouTube has rolled out some updates so we just wanted to keep you in the know with a quick roundup of the new YouTube playlist features.

New Embed Options

Last week Shannon -jj Behrens of the YouTube API Team shared a little trick on the YouTube API Blog to make embedded playlists more “playlisty.”  She writes, “When we launched support for lists of videos in the YouTube player in March, it was greeted with a lot of enthusiasm.  However, some developers pointed out that at first glance it didn’t look very much like a playlist.  In particular, they wanted the list of video thumbnails to be visible all the time.”

In response to these requests, YouTube has introduced a new parameter that can be added to playlist embed codes that will add the list of video thumbnails to the player.  The parameter is showinfo=1.

While viewing a video playlist on YouTube, click the ‘Share’ button and then click ‘Embed’ to get the embed code.  Make sure you’ve checked on “Share with playlist starting from current video (or start of playlist)” if you want to embed the entire playlist.  Add the above parameter within the quotations at the end of the playlist source, as in the example below.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/videoseries?list=PL70FE7C661F577413&amp;hl=en_US&showinfo=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

You’ll notice that now, when the playlist is embedded, you can view a list of thumbnails of other videos in the playlist by clicking on the little playlist icon at the bottom of the player.

Trimming Videos For Playlists

Sometimes when you put together a playlist of videos you may only want to include part of one video.  Last week YouTube made this possible with a new feature that works similarly to the YouTube Editor to let you choose start and end times to play only a selection from a specific video in your playlist.

To edit the start and end times of videos in a playlist, go to the playlist page on YouTube and click ‘Edit playlist.’  Two little icons will pop up next to each video—one to ‘Add note’ and the other to ‘Adjust the start and end times for this video in this playlist.’  A window will pop up where you can drag start and end bars to choose which section of the video you want to play.  Just click ‘Save’ when you’re done.

Editing Playlists Is Easier & Faster

YouTube has also updated the look of the playlist editing page to make it much easier and faster to edit the title, description, and settings.  Check out the image below to see what the new playlist editing page looks like.  You can also now add notes about specific videos in your playlist directly from the video page while watching.  Make notes right above the comment area.

Have you tried out the new YouTube playlist features yet?  What do you think?  Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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.