Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Video Tags: Just for Uploaders

Update: This change also applies to <category scheme="http://gdata.youtube.com/schemas/2007/keywords.cat"> tags, which were not mentioned in the original announcement.

If you follow the YouTube Creator Blog, you might have recently seen a post announcing that video tags (also known as keywords) would no longer be displayed to viewers of a video on YouTube’s website. They aren’t going away from the video itself, though—the owner of the video can still create tags for new videos and edit tags for existing videos, and video tags will still provide an important signal used to surface relevant results when searching for videos.

We’re going to be making some corresponding changes to all versions of the YouTube Data API to mimic this behavior in API responses. Starting later today, August 28, on the staging server and September 4 on the production server, any time you get a video entry back from any API method, it will have an empty <media:keywords/> element. This is a valid response from the API that your application should already handle gracefully, since videos are not required to have any keywords to begin with.

The exception to this rule is when you make authenticated requests to the API, and you request a video entry that’s owned by the currently authorized user. In that scenario, you will get back a <media:keywords> element that contains the full list of tags for the video, and you can read, update, or remove those video tags using the standard API operations.

Important: If your application allows video owners to update the metadata of their videos, please ensure that you include the proper Authorization header for both read and write operations. Otherwise, you could accidentally return an empty list of video tags when retrieving an existing video, and end up overwriting the video’s tags if you update the metadata. Video tags continue to play an important role in helping viewers discover your videos when searching on YouTube.com or via the API, so if your application does support metadata editing, please make sure you allow owners to tag their videos properly.

Cheers,
Jeffrey Posnick, YouTube API Team