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updated 3/31/2010 5:12:17 PM ET 2010-03-31T21:12:17

One of the most popular sites on the Web — YouTube — is getting a new look.

The video-sharing site owned by Google is trying to de-clutter its video playback page in an effort to drive people to watch more of its massive archive, which includes everything from the latest Lady Gaga music video to a report on narcoleptic dogs.

Changes slated to be unveiled Wednesday include reducing the number of links that pepper playback pages, and moving the name of the video's submitter to just below the video's title. There will also be a collapsible link to the submitter's other YouTube videos and a button that lets viewers subscribe to these clips, making it easier to see what else that submitter has shared without bombarding viewers with links.

The site is also replacing its five-star video-rating system with a simpler option to "like" or "dislike" a video.

YouTube senior product manager Shiva Rajaraman said YouTube released more site features in 2009 than in the previous two years combined, resulting in playback pages that looked very busy.

Beyond making the site more user-friendly, the changes are meant to get users to engage more with videos on the site — such as by commenting on videos and sharing clips on Twitter and Facebook.

The layout of users' comments on videos will look different. Instead of listing comments in a long, chronological stream, they will be grouped so the first ones you see are those from the video's submitter.

A limited test indicates the changes are helping: Rajaraman said that YouTube already rolled out the new design to 10 percent of its users and saw a 6 percent increase in the average amount of time people spend watching videos on the site each day, which usually hovers at 15 minutes. Rajaraman said activities related to videos, such as commenting on them, also rose.

YouTube is not the only big site trying to freshen up. The social-messaging site Twitter is testing a redesign of its home page. The redesign shows an ever-changing list of the most popular posts and scrolls through the top topics that Twitter users are writing about.

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