YouTube tries out a new look

YouTube’s trying out a new redesign named, for some reason, Cosmic Panda, giving a sleeker, darker look and improving customization options.

Gone is the traditional all-white page. Videos are now set off against a darker background to lower the contrast and make the whole thing easier on the eye. There’s also a lot less text, making for a more modern look with less to distract the viewer.

There are bigger thumbnails for each video, and they now appear immediately below the video that’s playing. And the videos themselves can be seen in two different sizes, as well as full-screen. What you can’t do any more, though, is shuffle.

Channel customization now includes four templates. ‘Creator’ places the video above a group of playlists; ‘Blogger’ shows a reverse chronological list of recent activity; ‘Network’ shows a video above a group of channels and ‘Everything’ shows a video with a group of playlists and then a group of channels below.

In Chrome – but only in Chrome – videos can be kept running while switching between videos, playlists and channels.

Cosmic Panda is available here, as a tryout; YouTube says it’s looking for feedback from users. Anyone that doesn’t like it can switch back easily.

“Our team is constantly experimenting, tweaking and playing with new ways to make your experience exactly what you’re looking for,” say Noam Lovinsky and Alex Nicksay.

“We’ll be making changes to the experiment regularly, so check back to see if some of your suggestions have made it onto the site or to give us more feedback on the latest updates”.