Google is quietly rolling out a new, minimalist design for its YouTube video player pages, which it claims will be more appropriate for a wide range of content from the user-uploaded content that has always been a staple to feature-length films. By muting the "voice" of the old design, YouTube hopes to make videos stand out from everything else on its pages.

The decision was driven in part by the need to create a unified tone on the site a subtle but important move, considering that people who are viewing videos of destruction from the recent earthquake in Haiti may not be in the mood to watch skateboarding videos.

You can switch your version of YouTube to the new design now, by clicking a special link (a link at the upper right lets you switch back). All YouTube users will notice the changes at some point over the next few weeks. In the new version, search results, playlists, or recommended videos follow viewers around the site depending on how they found a given video. This makes it possible to check out a bunch of search results without using the "back" button on your browser, which YouTube hopes will increase viewing time by reducing friction.

Full story: Wired News