If you’ve ever tried to keep a YouTube video private for just you and your friends, you’ve probably run into some problems actually making the video accessible to those friends. (Or is it just me?) But YouTube is adding a new new feature to share a video with as many people as possible, while still keeping it private from the general viewing public on the most popular video site in the world: unlisted videos.
The new feature will keep unlisted videos from the general search results, but still allow anyone with a direct link to watch the video. (So it will still be completely possible for video sharing to get more than a little out of hand if people continue to pass a link along.)
With this feature, you can mark your videos as “unlisted.” This means only people who have the link to the video will be able to watch it. It won’t appear in any of YouTube’s public pages, in search results, on your personal channel or on the browse page. It’s a private video, except you don’t need a YouTube account to watch it and there is no limit to the number of people who can view it. You’ll get a link when you upload the video and then it’s up to you to decide who to share it with. Unlisted is the perfect option for that class project, video from last summer’s family reunion or your secret Broadway audition tape.
(Oddly enough, when I’ve tried to share private videos, the only person who couldn’t get the link to work was the one person who had a YouTube account.)
As long as YouTube keeps the unlisted videos from the search results, and appropriately tracks the viewers so video owners can make sure their Broadway audition hasn’t secretly gone viral, this seems like a great addition to YouTube—and a step in the right direction in the privacy arena, for once.
What do you think? Is this a step forward for privacy from Google?