What exactly is a Cosmic Panda? Before you get any outlandish ideas, it's just YouTube's latest "TestTube" experiment.
Basically, Google is doing to YouTube what's been doing to some of its other Apps lately - namely redesigns on Gmail and Calendar.
It also looks like Google is getting more, um, creative with the naming of new versions of its products, à la Android. (See: Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and...Ice Cream Sandwich.)
Thus, the Cosmic Panda (pictured) plays the host, if you will, to YouTube's future look "over the double rainbow." Somewhere in reality, that just means a different layout for videos and playlists as well as some better editing tools.
Chrome users will be treated to even more features, including the ability to maintain video playback while toggling between videos, playlists, and channels.
YouTube subscribers can elect to test drive the new look (seen below) with the Cosmic Panda in shotgun now. If users feel very strongly one way or the other, there is a Feedback space where users can give input as this design isn't necessarily the finished product. If they really don't like it, they can switch back to the Classic version - at least for the time being.
Hopefully, this option will stay in place for those who do not like it, as that choice is available for Google Calendar. (For example, even though I like the new Google Calendar layout, I don't think it works for Gmail and would rather stay with my current theme.)
As for the new YouTube look, my initial thoughts are that while the video window is larger and has a sleeker look than before, I don't like how large the related videos are and how that list is pushed down so far by an advertisement. Nevertheless, advertising will always win on YouTube.