As sure as rain follows rain right now in London, these two (biggish) developments were inevitable...
Firstly YouTube has stepped up its High Definition game promising 1080p 'Full HD' videos will soon be added on the site.
"We're excited to say that support for watching 1080p HD videos in full resolution is on its way," said YouTube software engineer Billy Biggs. "Starting next week, YouTube's HD mode will add support for viewing videos in 720p or 1080p, depending on the resolution of the original source, up from our maximum output of 720p today. As resolution of consumer cameras increases, we want to make sure YouTube is the best home on the web to showcase your content. For viewers with big monitors and a fast computer, try switching to 1080p to get the most out of the fullscreen experience."
This last point is particularly relevant since many laptops and all non-Ion based netbooks will be unable to play 1920 x 1080 resolution content since claims of 'HD playback' generally refer only to 720p (1280 x 720 pixels). Still, if your computer can handle it check out the sample video above.
Next is Bing and Microsoft has today dropped the beta tags and delivered the full fat edition of the website to UK surfers. The biggest change this brings ('Bings'?) is 'Bing Maps' which replaces the former link to Multimap and it's a credible challenger to Google Maps with Ordinance Survey and Tube maps overlays, POIs, walking directions and user generated content.
On top of this Bing UK now can handle written questions ("Which tourist attraction should I take my in-laws to at the weekend?"), adds visual and Twitter search, shopping integration through 'Caio UK' and more. Google probably won't have to worry just yet, but it's a promising step forward.
YouTube Official Blog Post
Bing Official Blog Post