Despite the immediate threat of a hostile takeover by Microsoft, Yahoo's kicked it into high gear. In just two weeks Yahoo has released a hot new product (Yahoo Live), announced mobile social communication tool OneConnect, acquired online video platform provider Maven Networks, killed off its music service and replaced it with Rhapsody, and launched a completely new version of collaboration suite Zimbra.
This morning the parade of changes continues with the relaunch of Yahoo Video. Besides an all new layout, Yahoo Video is coming a little closer to YouTube. It is emphasizing editor-chosen content alongside the most popular videos on the service. One of them being the new trailer for Indiana Jones, which oddly enough looks significantly better, and is available in HD on Yahoo's Movies property.
The Flash video player (the most important part of the service) has been given a face-lift with slightly higher resolutions and a new wide-screen display that can be embedded on blogs or other Web sites. User file size limits have been increased to 150MB, letting users upload larger videos files sizes that tend to come with wide-screen clips. Standard 4:3 video simply plays in the player with black bars on each side.
Also revamped are personal profiles. Users can create playlists and embed them on third party pages. Like YouTube's efforts, there are tiny thumbnails for each clip, and the creator can swap the order and choose whether it plays continuously.
New to the mix are "networks," which are a simple way to browse content by genre. The videos come from various Yahoo properties, and each network is skinned to match. It's a distinctively different feel at each network, and does a much better job at encapsulating content and the feel for each brand than YouTube's efforts with its partner channels.
I've embedded an example of the new video playlists after the break. Also, if you want to read more about the update, Yahoo's got a full listing of the changes on the Yahoo Video blog.