Google has quietly added a new function to YouTube: in the upload section it is now possible not only to to upload or record a video but also to start a hangout and to create an animated slideshow.
You can upload photos from your hard drive or import them from a picasa/Google+ album. Then you can rearrange the photos and choose which effects (transitions) you would like choose. You can also choose from 150,000+ royalty free songs. When done a pan and zoom animated slideshow (aka Ken Burns effect) is created automatically.
Compared to similar services such as Animoto YouTube slideshows have a number of advantages as well as disadvantages:
|a few||none (only via subtitle file)|
|animoto (free)||30 seconds||360p||a few dozens|
variety of styles
Here is a pre-christmassy example: