Ever wonder what happens when you take a simple idea and glob on features for a few years? You get Facebook and YouTube, two great products that have become mired in excess.
Facebook did something about it first, by introducing Facebook Lite, which was such an upgrade of the Facebook experience, that it single-handedly saved Facebook for me. I use FB again, not for FailVille, but for actual friend to friend communication.
Crazy talk, I know.
But this movement towards lighter, faster design that cuts to the core of the product has not been lost on Google, with its current rush towards speed as a goal. Today, they have brought YouTube Feather, a redesign of YouTube that seems to have borrowed the FB Lite design ethic hook, line, and sinker.
You can opt in to Feather here. If you just want to take a peek, look at this:
I am very impressed by the simplicity of the page: search, video, interaction, who and what, and more videos to see. That is all I really want on YouTube, anyway. Also, in my testing I did not receive a single advertisement, so those might be turned off at the moment. Cross your fingers that this sticks.
I want to underscore a larger trend here, that I hope continues. In the last few years we have built 1000 services that integrate into each other, creating a mashup of everything, all the time. Some of it is useful, but often it seems to impede the product experience.
By retreating a bit, and taking a second look at what the product actually does, we can speed up the websites use, and save time digging to find the functionality. Facebook Lite and YouTube Feather are both good representations of the abstract vision of both products, I hope that we see more of this.