Skip to main content

Google Unveils Pandora-Type Service for YouTube

Although Google is supposedly working on a "Facebook killer" called Google Me, the company has integrated Facebook connectivity with a new YouTube service just launched on Wednesday. Called Leanback, the new service takes on a Pandora Radio-like focus and offers a continuous stream of YouTube videos based on user settings and preferences.

Not familiar with Pandora Radio? The streaming music service allows the user to create a "station" by entering the name of a band or song. Say you're a Lady Gaga fan--by entering her name, Pandora creates a specialized station that not only features her hit songs, but other artists associated wither her style. YouTube Leanback is similar in that it pools an infinite stream of YouTube videos based on your subscriptions, videos shared by your friends on Facebook, and more.

"You can also watch the most popular comedy, entertainment, news, or more," Google said in a blog Wednesday night. "And if you don’t care for the video that’s playing, use the right arrow key on your keyboard to skip ahead to the next video, or try the up/down arrows to search, access player controls, and browse channels and videos. You won’t need your mouse for this experience."

Currently the service is in beta, and doesn't work unless you're already signed into YouTube. Users wanting to watch feeds other than what's defined in their account can merely hit the down arrow to access a hidden menu. Want nothing but comedy? There's a "station" for that. Want only music videos? There's a channel for that too.

To see YouTube Leanback in action, check out the video below, or simply head here if you have a YouTube account.

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • Kelavarus
    Except, to some extent, TV is screened for quality. Quite obviously, it misses quite often, but to the extent that Youtube probably will? I doubt it. Dunno, might be interesting, might not. Will need a lot of work, I imagine.
  • lightbulbsocket
    I'd be happy if they'd just give me back the option to make a quicklist. This doesn't really sound like anything I'd use.
  • maigo
    oh boy! I can't wait for the 'groin shot' channel
  • chickenhoagie
    i like this idea..mainly for the music videos. and i'm guessing it'd be similar genres/videos of music? as long as it doesn't change the youtube GUI interface then im all for it
  • pirateboy
    lolz, what incredibly fake smiles did the people on the couch show at the end of the clip.
    This seems like an application for braindead couch you think pressing the arrow keys is going to be too hard for them? Maybe they should make the interface include speech....when you say "DUUUHH" the next channel comes on. Seems appropriate.
  • JPHD
    good idea. took it for a spin, thought it reflected stuff I've seen over the past couple of months pretty accurately (duh.. obviously so, since I'm logged and they can track what I see). they should add controls that let you refine the videos, like pandora did with songs, bands and so on....
  • fjjb
    i wonder how many adds will appear while viewing