Find What You’re Looking for on YouTube

June 8, 2011, By Christian Cawley

You might think you know YouTube – but do you really know YouTube? The web’s most popular video sharing and streaming site has a massive amount of new content added to it on a daily basis, with videos such as instruction guides, political discourse, pop videos and classic TV commercials and much, much more besides.

How to find what you're looking for on YouTube

However the majority of us use YouTube to watch clips of people falling into ponds or brides tripping over their wedding dresses.

The truth is, there is a massive amount of useful, informative and spellbinding content available on YouTube, just waiting for you to click and enjoy. The problem is finding it.

Thanks to commercial interests, YouTube by default displays a list of promotional videos when you first visit the site, mainly for pop groups but also often for TV shows and coming events. These can often be tailored to your own interests if you have a YouTube account, but newcomers will probably come away with the feeling that YouTube is MTV on crack.

So how do you find all of the interesting content on YouTube, and configure the site to only display material that interests you?

YouTube Channels

Finding what you want on YouTube means knowing what you are looking for. If it is TV shows that you are after then you can find them from the main page via the TV Shows link on the main menu at the top of the page, while every other video that is displayed is among the most popular in its topic.

Clicking Browse will allow you to see more currently popular choices, and using the Music category header you will be able to open a selection of the top tunes currently being enjoyed on YouTube.

There are thousands of channels on YouTube, and you can find these by searching for “channels” and then clicking the blue Channel label. Broadcasters such as the BBC and Fox, popular magazines, and websites and even individuals can all setup channels, and these act as a home for the videos that are uploaded.

Using Search in YouTube

If you’re looking for something pretty obscure – say a contemporary review for a long-abandoned piece of electronics hardware – you will need to use the search function in YouTube.

Search in YouTube is much more than just typing in a phrase and clicking the Search button, however.

There are options for ordering your search results by Relevance (the default option), Upload Date, View Count and Rating which are all accessible in the upper-right area of the search results, as well as a more comprehensive selection of options allowing you to filter videos by their upload date, categories relevant to your search term, duration and any viewing features such as closed caption or high definition.

So if I wanted to find a review or box opening of the HTC MDA Vario (AKA HTC Wizard) Windows Mobile phone I could do this by searching for “mda vario” and using the Search options menu, sorting by Upload date and browsing back to the last page.

Don’t be put off by the populist veneer that YouTube displays – there is an almost endless supply of valuable material information stored there, waiting to be found!

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