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Summary:

YouTube’s value isn’t always in introducing us to the newest and most popular videos, but in helping us track down long-forgotten ones. The site YouTube Time Machine serves up nostalgia via a randomized player that allows you to watch videos sorted by year of launch.

youtube time machine

YouTube’s value isn’t always in introducing us to the newest and most popular videos, but in helping us track down long-forgotten videos from our youth. The site YouTube Time Machine serves up that nostalgia via a randomized player that allows you to watch videos sorted by year of launch. (Served up from the year 1995: A commercial for Pogs!)

Following a bare-bones launch earlier this week, YTTM today added features including a Next button, the option to select specific categories (including video games, TV, commercials, current events, sports, movies and music) and a scroll bar to select the video year. The result is one of the more pleasant time-wasters you could hope to find online.

YTTM was created by Justin Johnson (known for both his work at Next New Networks as well as his Tumblr marriage proposal) and Delbert Shoopman, with design support from Andrew Cornett and coding by Aaron Pollock.

Why randomize the videos? Well, in a blog post about the site’s origins, Johnson writes that:

It wasn’t specifically Jordan or Primal Rage videos I was searching for … it was 1996 … the feeling of being in 1996 …the intangibles of that year fascinated me, but getting bogged down in the specifics and having to make CHOICES eventually spoiled my quest.

The team manually searched for nearly 4,000 videos to create the YTTM database, which stretches from the year 2010 all the way back to 1860. There’s only one option for 1860: a video of the first sound ever encoded.

How might YouTube Time Machine change your life? Just one suggestion: Next time you’re posting a generic birthday message on a friend’s Facebook wall, spice it up by posting a video from their birth year! (That’s right: NewTeeVee doesn’t just do video news; we’re also an etiquette guide!)

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  1. The look of the site is pretty close to Apple’s Time Machine….. would that not be infringement?

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  2. [...] videos appear randomly, as the YouTube Time Machine’s creators are seeking to allow people to recreate a particular year rather than find a specific [...]

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  3. [...] out YouTube Time Machine (YTTM) [via GigaOm]. [...]

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