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YouTube adds annotation tool for video creators only

Add annotations to videos now with YouTube.

Bugged by the overlay ads popping up on some YouTube videos? The purity of those home videos is about to get a little more cluttered with the inclusion of video annotations.

Wednesday morning the video-hosting company rolled out its own tool for adding text bubbles, links, and call-outs to uploaded videos. The feature is available as part of its TestTube service, which showcases some of the technologies the company is testing, but is not ready to unleash on the general YouTube populace.

Unlike some other Web video annotation services, you can only add them to a video if you're the creator--something I'm betting will change in later iterations with a possible toggle to view community annotations. In the meantime, if you come across a video with annotations that you'd care not to see, you can simply click the new arrow button on the right side of the player.

As far as actually adding annotations there's a simple two-pane editor with your video on one side and a list of each annotation on the left. You physically have to play the video and pause it to track down the right times to start and stop an annotation.

There are also slots to input the exact start and stop time down to the second. It's not an exact science. Ideally I'd like to see YouTube add some better timeline control to let you simply drag a start and stop point as if you were editing the video itself. To push it live you just hit the publish button and any changes are reflected immediately.

One thing to note is that annotations don't yet make their way with the source video when embedded, something I'm sure will be changed later down the line. For now you can check out this example video I made shortly after unboxing the new Flip Video Mino.

Adding video annotations to YouTube videos isn't hard, but it could be a whole lot easier. Most users will know what to do right away. CNET Networks