YouTube adds cloud-based video editor

A Google tool lets people combine multiple videos into one and trim a specific video down to a desired segment.

In a significant philosophical shift, Google has added a basic video-editing system to YouTube, giving a new creative aspect to the video-sharing site.

The YouTube editor isn't going to put Apple's Final Cut Pro or Adobe Systems' Premiere Pro out of business anytime soon, but the tool is useful. With it, you can trim videos and combine multiple videos into a single composite.

Google is arguably the biggest advocate of cloud computing, one variety of which shifts tasks that once were done on personal computers to Internet servers reached with a Web browser. With Google Docs, Google's acquisition of online photo editor Picnik , and now editing YouTube videos, it's clear Google's vision for cloud computing extends well beyond consuming content but to creating it as well.

The YouTube editor lets you combine multiple videos, trimming them as you go.
The YouTube editor lets you combine multiple videos, trimming them as you go. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

To use the video editor, drag the thumbnail views of your videos to the filmstrip at the bottom. Hovering your mouse pointer over a thumbnail at the bottom will produce a scissors icon; clicking on it will let you trim the beginning and end of a video.

You can preview a low-resolution version of the video, and once you're done, save it to your collection. Saving is fast, because the videos are already uploaded, but it can take some time for YouTube to process the result.

The new videos are added to your collection, with the usual options for titles, tags, sharing permission, and such.

Given that you already can link to a segment that's a specific length of time through a YouTube video, the big innovation here is a user interface for selecting and trimming videos.

Trimming videos is potentially a helpful option for videographers unhappy with boring and otherwise undesirable segments in videos. It's a pain to edit videos, but it's also a pain to predict when the choice moment will come when recording the school play.

I couldn't find a way to include others' video, which isn't a big surprise given the copyright issues. But other avenues for improvement are possible--perhaps slideshows of images created at Picasa, or image stabilization to reduce camera shake, or technology to improve video quality .

Via the unofficial Google Operating System blog.

The interface includes an option to trim videos by dragging a slider from one end of the original video or the other.
The interface includes an option to trim videos by dragging a slider from one end of the original video or the other. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET
 

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