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YouTube strips page clutter with 'Feather'

Faster loading for crap computers

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One problem with small, cheap computers is that even the internet staple YouTube can slow such a machine to a crawl. And what's the point of a $300 computer if you can't watch a dog riding a skateboard immediately?

To address this issue, YouTube launched an experimental "Feather" viewing option on Thursday that strips out many of the website's superfluous elements for underpowered computers and low-bandwidth connections.

Feather-ized pages reduce YouTube excess by making the video player default to standard quality, reducing comments displayed to 10, and removing sharing and embedding options. Video replies, search bar auto-suggest, and the number of related videos have also been removed. There's some behind-the-scenes web voodoo involved as well, according to YouTube.

But advertisements are untouched by Feather. Of course.

The sum total of Feather means that YouTube pages load faster on small, cheap computers and shoddy connections. It's worth noting, however, that the Feather option does not yet work on all YouTube videos.

It's an opt-in beta, and is available to try here by clicking the the "Join the 'Feather' Beta" link.

It's not a bad way to reduce unnecessary clutter for full-featured machines as well. And reading fewer YouTube comments is absolutely key to balanced mental health. ®

High performance access to file storage

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