YouTube's crowdsourced help videos arrive (with ads)

User-generated videos filled with useful screencasts to show you what to do when it comes to things like creating playlists and adding video annotations.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

On Wednesday, YouTube unveiled the winners of its help video challenge. Last month the company offered users a chance to get their how-to screencast featured as the default video on the service's help center, giving fledgling screencasters the opportunity to get more exposure and a larger following.

Among the clips chosen are short how-tos on adding video annotations, creating playlists, and digging deep into YouTube's settings to get videos to automatically play in high-quality mode. Ironically, this video, along with the tutorial on creating subtitles, has YouTube's overlay ads, which in the case of the high-quality how-to completely obscures what users are supposed to do to enable the feature.


Despite this small stumble, having a user-generated help section video is a smart move on YouTube's part, since the company can continue to change interface elements, then call for community members to make an updated version. This strategy goes hand in hand with Google's Knol service, which has quietly become the back-end publishing tool for a large portion of Google's help center articles.

I've embedded one of the new videos below. You can see the whole list over on the YouTube blog.