Interactive YouTube Videos

Thanks to Adam Turinas and Sarah Unger for turning my attention to something I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know about: interactive YouTube videos. Did that just blow your mind? Because it should have.

How it works: while the video plays, it offers options through links embedded in the video, which take you to a different place on the timeline or to a different video, which offers new options, and so on. Here is a look at interactive YouTube videos in the wild.

You Tube Radio

A simple but effective example is YouTube Radio:

Barack Paper Scissors

The sheer number of individual videos required to execute this simple concept (over 1,000) make Barack Paper Scissors really impressive:

Oscars Interactive Photo Challenge

The 2009 Oscars Interactive Photo Challenge also took a simple concept — photo hunt games — and YouTube-ified it to give the game a major boost of novelty.

Interactive YouTube adventures

The interactive video format gave rise to the “interactive YouTube adventure genre” which is like the Choose Your Own Adventure book genre, but for our future generations, who I imagine won’t read books. I’m sure this has huge implications for people who enjoy webseries, but I prefer my internet with more clicking. And more brand integration. So… let’s turn our attention to two of the coolest things I’ve ever seen (in the past hour) instead.

Hunter Shoots a Bear

Tip of the hat to Tipp-Ex for the Hunter Shoots a Bear video and the tippexperience.

Pardon the NSFW language and put on some headphones or something because you definitely want to watch this. It’s like a double rainbow of interactive.

Sure, Crispin Porter + Bogusky did it first with the Subservient Chicken for Burger King, but this one is on YouTube. And British — thus, better.

BoonOakley Homepage

Finally, this is the the most award-winning-est use of the interactive videos highlighted here (and it’s really funny!). Advertising agency BooneOakley traded in their regular homepage for an entirely YouTube based interactive video site. So don’t bother clicking that hyperlink; it seriously just redirects to this video below…

You totally clicked the BooneOakley link anyway, didn’t you? I know I would have.

Well, at least make sure you navigate your way to the company vision “page” (meme alert):

The Tipp-Ex and BooneOakley campaigns/websites/videos (whatever the correct term would be) are extremely creative and do a great job of utilizing this feature, but some people would argue that these sorts of campaigns are more award-bait than effective branding strategy. What do you think? Either way, do you know of other brands that are effectively using interactive YouTube videos?

February 23, 2011 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Google Goggles: Solving life’s problems one puzzle at a time

Some of the products that come out of Google Labs are so cool that it’s a little scary.  Google Goggles is a perfect example. The app, which is available for Android and iPhone, lets you search the web using photos taken with your mobile device. This means you can take a picture of a landmark, book, logo or artwork using the app and Google will identify it and return search results for that object.  It also translates text into English and scans business cards to easily add contact info to your address book.

Goggles is awesome in theory and still pretty cool in practice.  When I tested it out on my HTC Droid Incredible, I had difficulty getting the app to recognize a business card, but it had no problem recognizing a book cover or barcode.  So even though it’s not flawless, when it does work, the novelty of visual search definitely delivers serious wow-factor.

Google launched a new version last month enabling faster QR and barcode scanning and two cool new tricks.  The first is the ability to recognize print ads in popular magazines and newspapers, and return web search results about the product or brand.  This has some interesting possibilities for print advertisers to Goggles-enable their ads, as explored in November with the Google Goggles marketing experiment. But while this is all very practical, the second new trick is my favorite: it solves Sudoku puzzles. According to Google, “if you ever get stuck, take a clear picture of the entire puzzle with Goggles and we’ll tell you the correct solution.”

As you’d expect from Google, they’ve created this nifty Sudoku demo video:

ReadWriteWeb seems skeptical that this is more than just a “fun parlor trick type app (at least for now).” I have to agree, but with emphasis on the for now. I can imagine plenty of situations where this would be useful, but it will only be truly useful when it becomes more reliable (and when mobile device camera quality improves). I’m sure when Google Labs works out the bugs, they’ll turn their attention to solving the second hurdle: making visual search top-of-mind for Android and iPhone users. And who else but Google could lead this movement?

What do you think? Have you used Goggles? Did you have different results on another device?

Now I challenge you to say Google Goggles five times fast.

February 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm Leave a comment

Go to the Museum Without Leaving the House: Google Art Project

Whether I’m scoping out a neighborhood’s vibe while looking for apartments, catching Brooklyn Heroin rings, taking a “stroll” around places I will never be cool enough to go (i.e. the Googleplex), or watching men in scuba gear attack with pitchforks, I love Google Street View.

But Google has taken this technology to a whole new (classier) awe-inspiring level with Google Art Project, a website that takes you on a 360-degree virtual tour of 17 of the world’s greatest museums and galleries, including (examples are those deemed cool by me, because I’ve visited them): the MoMA (NYC), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), National Gallery (London), Tate Britain (London), and the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam).


February 8, 2011 at 6:49 am Leave a comment

Filler Item

(See how clever this post title is? Totally works on two levels…)

I rarely shop online because I hate paying for shipping and never seem to reach the minimum amount you need for free shipping. And how much do you hate getting this message pop up? I mean what can you honestly get for $3.11?

The Amazon Filler Item Finder helps you answer that very question. Enter the amount you need to spend and it’ll show you all the filler items on Amazon you can add to your order to push you over the edge to earn free shipping.

No guarantee you’ll be able to get anything valuable for that $3.11, but hey, it’s cheaper than paying the shipping fee.

Thanks to my coworker Jade for sharing this helpful tool!

January 10, 2011 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Ironic Invasions and Muzzies

I was thinking about how much I hate ironic mustaches, or “muzzies” as they’re apparently called by Brits, and felt inspired to share the comic that perfectly demonstrates why ironic muzzies aren’t clever — they just make you look like an asshole. Enter: Hipster Hitler.

If you like hipster jokes, wordplay and/or satire and aren’t easily offended, goosestep on over to  And yes, the t-shirts are for sale, so you can show your appreciation for german/history/indie rock/web comics/irony  in a single screen printed tee… although I’m not sure wearing them (mainly this one) in public would be such a great idea.

The following comic is my favorite, but mostly because I find extreme closeups hilarious and can use it to torture my German hipster friend who once criticized my resume for being in arial. Apparently his was in garamond because — and i quote — “Harry Potter is in garamond so it will create a positive association.  Plus it just looks way more professional.” *gives judgmental look* (more…)

December 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm 4 comments

TED: Ideas worth spreading

Wow, it’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything so apologies to my tens of readers.  I’m sure you’ve been pretty torn up about it.  The good news: I haven’t been posting because I’ve been busy getting settled in to my new job in NYC, where I’ve been given plenty of great ideas for things to blog about.  Stay tuned…

To make up for the long hiatus, I’m sharing one of my favorite things: TED.  TED is a nonprofit devoted to sharing “Ideas worth spreading.”  TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, attracts intellectuals, artists, visionaries, scientists, inventors, poets, humanitarians, comedians, innovators and everyone in between by challenging them to give the best talks of their lives in under 18 minutes.  These talks take place at TED Conferences, or as Kathy Griffin describes it, “a conference for geniuses.”  For all of us non-geniuses, the talks are available to watch and share for free on Some of the videos, like the Steve Jobs graduation speech below, aren’t even directly tied to TED events, but are featured on TED’s Best of the Web, or other partner series “to highlight inspired talks on sites other than” (more…)

November 7, 2010 at 8:43 pm 1 comment

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Written by Kristin Kepplinger

In the digital age, the biggest barrier to communication is information overload. Forget the Dow Jones; we operate in an attention economy. Selective Attention shares the things worth paying for.

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