YouTube ditches the logo and turns on HD for video previews

Google's video sharing service YouTube is letting users rip off its logo and switch on high definition preview images to make embedded videos look more enticing to potential viewers.

"It may be hard to imagine, but YouTube's video preview images represent to many the ultimate deciding factor as to whether or not to watch a video," revealed Kevin Wilson and Ravi Kanodia, software engineers at Google in a June 9 blog post.

"If a preview image looks interesting, it can mean the difference" between someone pressing the play button or not.

From today the site is rolling out new options for users who want to upload and embed videos.

Video preview images - "the image that appears before you click 'play'" - will be upgraded to 1920 x 1080 pixels for videos uploaded in 480p or higher, said Google.

In an attempt to lure serious video publishers away from rival video sharing sites such as Vimeo, Dailymotion, Flickr and, Google is also providing users with an option to remove any YouTube branding from its player.