YouTube Leanback hit the scene about six months ago, ahead of the launch of GoogleTV. It's designed to let you relax on the couch and easily browse videos on your Internet-ready television. I've used it a handful of times in just that manner, and while it took a little getting used to, I find it to be enjoyable and easy to use--fun even.
Part of the reason I enjoy it is that YouTube keeps adding in little trinkets and toys to play around with. Like YouTube Remote, which I still find myself showing off to people, despite my lack of an everyday use for it. It's just a very cool thing to see in action for the first time.
And now they've added a new feature called Personalized Channels.
What is YouTube Leanback's Personalized Channels?
Previously, you could only really browse content on Leanback through a fairly small number of topically-themed channels like Comedy or Sports. Now that's all changed. Personalized Channels is one of those things that means exactly what you think it does: you can customize your own channels by topic or keyword, or choose from a brand new set of specialized channels that YouTube created.
The system is designed to be intuitive. It will learn what kind of videos you like from the amount of time you spend watching and how you interact with them. You might say they got a little Pandora in your Leanback.
How Do You Set Up YouTube Leanback's Personalized Channels?
Personalized Channels is actually very easy to set up and even easier to use. Just sign into your YouTube account and head on over to Youtube.com/leanback. Then click on Create Channels down in the bottom left corner.
You'll then see something like this:
There are some suggested customized channels that YouTube put together based on your previous viewing habits. And you can start your personalization experience there--remember, it will learn and adapt based on how you use it, so even starting out with a pre-made channel will quickly turn into an experience unique to you.
You can also skip the pre-made selections and go straight to typing a topic in the field provided. (Maybe it's just me, but it feels like this might be a good time to double-check those video titles and descriptions for proper keyword use).
Here's a video YouTube released to help explain the feature, and also demonstrate how to set up and use Personalized Channels:
YouTube is careful to point out that the feature is still in the very early stages, and that they'll be counting on the users to help them track down any bugs or issues.
I have no idea how many people are actively using YouTube Leanback, but I'm sure there are quite a few. And as the Internet and television continue to collide, customization and choice are becoming more and more prominent. Personalized Channels offers a new layer of control and independence to what was already a pretty cool way to watch YouTube videos on your TV, which is exactly what the users of the near future will be demanding.