Google-owned video-sharing website, YouTube has announced the launch of YouTube Trends, aimed at showcasing and keeping track of the most popular videos on the site. This initiative is similar to Google Trends, which keeps track of what is being searched on the search engine and how.

YouTube Trends would act as an analytic hub for the site. Explaining the importance and utility of the newly unveiled Trends Page to the users, Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, said, YouTube Trends is a destination for daily insight into the zeitgeist of the world's largest video site.

The idea for YouTube Trends started with our desire to find new ways of identifying the viral and newsworthy content people love to share and packaging it in an easy to digest format. With over 35 hours of video now uploaded to YouTube every minute, we wanted one place to distill the videos people were sharing and discussing with their friends as well as understand what YouTube could teach us about our culture and current events, Allocca added in a blog post.

YouTube trends will feature algorithmically-generated feeds that highlight trending videos and topics on the right side of the page. On the top of the page, a '4 @ 4' section will be updated twice a day (4 @ 4 a.m. and 4 @ 4 p.m.) drawn from the feeds and from top video curation sites around the web.

Meanwhile, the content of the blog will throw light on in-depth and contextual explorations of videos, trends, and cultural phenomenon as seen through the lens of YouTube, using YouTube's own internal data.

Besides this, the trends page will also enable users to explore what's popular in different cities in the United States and in countries around the world. This means that the users can access localized analytics or even set a demographic marker to gauge interest in top videos.

We see YouTube as a way to not just be entertained and informed, but also as place that can help us understand more about the world we live in and the people we live in it with. And that's what YouTube Trends is all about, Allocca said.

YouTube Trends was launched hours after announcement of the most watched videos of 2010. Over a span of 12 days, YouTube plans to explore the top videos and trends from the year that was with breakdowns of the most viewed videos in news and politics, sports and trailers. This exercise has already begun with YouTube's Top Movie Trailers of 2010 and YouTube's Top News & Politics Videos of 2010.

YouTube also launched an intro-video, featuring The Gregory Brothers of 'Auto-Tune the News' fame, on its new offering.

Viewing Behavior

It will be interesting to observe how YouTube Trends would affect the viewing behavior of the users. So far, people have stumbled upon videos by browsing through the millions available on the site. The question now is - will people take to studying the trends before choosing what to watch or will they continue browsing the way they have until now and the site will just assess that?

Homepage revamp?

Although the YouTube Trends' launch may cheer up all those who end up feeling left-out in conversations on the latest internet fad or obsession, the site's decision to keep the trends on a separate page remains intriguing and may not be liked by its followers.

Since Google keeps its Trends on a separate page, YouTube could have achieved its goal of informing its visitors on what's popular but better if the trending topics and videos were featured prominently on itself.

Until now, YouTube has displayed 'Personalized Video Recommendations', 'Subscription Alerts', 'Most Popular Videos' from across genres, 'Spotlight Videos' and 'Featured Videos'. Three videos under 'Trending' category are now seen below the 'Spotlight Videos' and above the 'Featured Videos' on the homepage. So, is it time for a revamp so that YouTube could incorporate more of its new Trends insights on the homepage?