Coming from behind Google Video, YouTube now allows deep linking in videos

October 26, 2008

Two years after Google Video started allowing its users to deep link within videos, YouTube is catching up. Now YouTube users can deep link, sending viewers into various points within each video using tags and a bit of code.

How does it work? Simply add a tag at the end of the video URL to send a viewer to a certain point within the video. YouTube also added automatic time stamp tagging. If someone in a video says a time, YouTube automatically tags that point and creates a hyperlink for it.

To add the deep link tag to your video to send your viewers to a certain time, you need to use a precise syntax tag at this time  – YouTube has not yet made the feature automatic. According to TechCrunch, the tag syntax is #t=1m45s where ‘m’ equals minutes and ‘s’ equals seconds, with the numbers before each changing according to the tag point in your video.

Before this, YouTube users had to use third party tools to do any deep linking. Being able to do this within the YouTube API is key for convenience, though the need for manual tagging keeps it from being as easy as the same feature on Google Video.

Why would you want to deep link to a certain point in a video instead of having viewers watch the whole thing? There are several reasons, actually. One is to send a viewer to a certain point in an action video. For example, you can deep link to certain pivotal points in a skateboarding trick so that it serves as a teaching tool for watchers.

You can also use deep linking to break up long videos into segments, allowing users to go back and watch the segment that most interested them again. You can also use it to give viewers a way to talk about what they are seeing, as a reference point. Deep linking is a useful tool, and it’s about time YouTube brought it on board.

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