YouTube seems to be rolling out a new visualization discovery tool. For now, it only works in full-screen mode, and it’s not available on all videos. Once in full screen, you’ll see an icon in the lower-left corner that features three balls in a triangle shape (it looks a little like the flux capacitor from Back to the Future).
Click on this icon and the video turns into a bubble, surrounded by related video bubbles (you can also wait until the end of the video). Here’s one I did by watching a Rudy Giuliani video (to calm all those people who think I’m a Republican basher).
As you stray from your original video into tangential topics, the bubbles’ colors change. Click on a bubble to watch a video and the map keeps track of which ones you’ve watched by connecting them with a line. Additionally, there’s a color key in the upper left-hand corner to take you to a specific topic color.
The bubble effect is similar to the Digg Swarm, only more fun. You have to hand it to YouTube, they may slack when it comes to copyright protection, but they are always ahead of their competitors when it comes to providing visual discovery. [digg=http://digg.com/design/Wow_YouTube_Visualization_Blatantly_Copy_Digg_Swarm]
Big thanks to sharp-eyed reader “Joe Smith” for the tip.