Video hosting services compete on features and content.  YouTube‘s early dominance has made it near impossible for competitors to contend for the latter, but countless video hosting services have innovated for different needs in different ways.  EyeSpot and Jumpcut have browser-based editing solutions.  Viddler has timed-tags.  Mogulus has a full TV studio in a browser. 

But lately, YouTube’s gotten into the game of features, too, with things like high quality video, talks of live video and, today, the announcement of annotations.  Here’s a look:

UPDATE: Apparently, annotations don’t show up on embeds?

Annotations allow a video’s creator to add clickable text linking to any YouTube (and ONLY Youtube) video, channel, or search results page directly atop the videos.

###It’s a relatively small step for the video behemoth, but another indicator that video aggregator will do everything to maintain its position as the premier destination for video on the internet, which none of us can ignore.  The site’s implementing the best features from third party applications and rendering those third parties obsolete.

As YouTube solidifies its position as the predominant destination for internet video with fancy new features, I’m reminded of the many creators wary of the site’s terms of service and who question the value of its Partner Program, but it’s increasingly clear that you can’t play in the space without embracing its hegemon.  What’s your strategy? 

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