Google has announced the launch of redesigned YouTube channels in limited beta, featuring channel art: YouTube’s take on the Facebook / Google+ cover photo; and channel trailers: a way for YouTube creators to promote their content to non-subscribers.

This redesign isn’t much of an aesthetic improvement over the current design, but Google appears to be inching YouTube over to a design which embrace’s Google+’s look and feel on the desktop. For smaller channels and new creators, this is great, as it will now be easier to start curating a channel brand. For established players, however, it appears that Google is actually heavily limiting the design possibilities.

The flexibility YouTube offers users in its new channel design is equivalent to a Google+ profile. In fact, the new YouTube channel design is quite similar to a Google+ profile, further confirming how closely Google plans to embed its social offering into the popular service.

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The new look (shown above), doesn’t feel nearly as polished as the current layout (below):

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Along with the channel-owner’s profile pic, the new channel art features an area for sharing links towards the bottom-right. Users can select a featured URL (e.g.: a link to a second YouTube channel or to an outside service), in addition to standard-looking social buttons:

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According to YouTube content creator iJustine, speaking on Google’s blog, “channel art is how you can express the personality of your channel wherever it is seen, whether on a mobile phone, a tablet, a TV, or in a hovercard anywhere on the site!  For optimal results on all devices create a single 2120 X 1192 px imag.”

The following channels show the new look in action: DeStorm, EpicMealTime, SortedFoods, MysteryGuitarMan, Mondo, LOUD and Geek & Sundry. According to the announcement, “soon everyone will be able to use the new channel design.”

Image credit: AFP/Getty Images