YouTube announced late last week a new feature over at Test Tube, its lab site. It’s called YouTube Topics and it’s available at http://www.youtube.com/topics?feature=testtube.
(You will have to opt-in to use the feature, but that does not require you to have a YouTube account or be logged in.)
YouTube Topics lets you explore YouTube by browsing topics generated from an initial search. After the first search, you’ll get topics related to your search across the top of the results page. Next to the result videos themselves, you’ll get topics to which they are related. I did a search for Carol Burnett and clicked on the “Explore” link next to the related topics.
The related topics cover the expected (Tim Conway, Carol Burnett Show), the somewhat-out-there-but-possibly-linked (Golden Girls, Johnny Carson, Joan Crawford) and the Okay-I-don’t-get-that-at-all (mosque, obama, Sarah Palin.) If you click directly on the topic, you’ll be taken to a new search for that topic. If you hold your mouse over the topic and then click on the big blue and white plus sign next to it, the topic will be added to your current search query and the query will be rerun.
If you do a search for Carol Burnett mosque you will get results — but at this writing there are only two, and they appear to both be playlists. Since the playlists mix Carol Burnett videos with videos related to the “Ground Zero Mosque” category, I guess you could say the two topics are related — but it does seem like a stretch.
Topics listed with the video search results work the same way — you can search for them independently or add the topics to your current search. Removing topics from a current search is as easy as mousing over the query in the search result page and clicking on the item you want to remove.
I like this idea in theory, but man did I find some weird related topics.