You can't really keep anything a secret in the New York media industry, but Google managed to do a pretty good job of it on Wednesday night.
The Mountain View megalith rented out the Terminal 5 uberclub on the West Side for an event it called "Videocracy," which is Google-ese for "Hey, advertisers, this is why you should cozy up to YouTube." The company also reportedly made a number of hints at the video site's direction, talking about some in-the-works features.
It was a strictly no-press event; Silicon Alley Insider reporter Michael Learmonth weaseled his way into the open-bar party, only to be given the boot moments later. (I unfortunately didn't try to sneak in. I was downtown, where TheStreet.com was celebrating the launch of its new Mainstreet site. Jim Cramer is shorter than I expected he'd be.)
But secret spies tell CNET News.com that not only were YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen there, so were a number of the site's biggest stars, like "Chocolate Rain" singer Tay Zonday and fashionisto William Sledd.
According to Schafer, the site will soon be launching video recommendations based on prior viewing history; think StumbleUpon or Amazon Recommendations. Also mentioned were "active sharing," a beta feature that displays which users have recently watched a video (consider it the YouTube equivalent of Facebook's social ads), improvements to YouTube's video-editing tools, and the expansion of YouTube's content to platforms beyond the PC.
"Steve Chen is excited about content on really, really big TVs," Schafer wrote.