YouTube limits experimental features to paid Premium subscribers

You won't see voice search and other new tricks for free.


If you’ve used YouTube recently, you know that it really, really wants you to sign up for a paid Premium subscription. Now, Google is providing another incentive by allowing Premium users to try out experimental features still under development (via Android Central). Up until mid-September, those tests were offered at random to all YouTube users.

YouTube has in the past tested upcoming features like picture-in-picture with random users and beta app testers. It’s likely to keep testing certain things that way, but now it seems to be saving the interesting Labs program toys for subscribers.

There are three new features available to Premium users. One on iOS only allows you to watch and seek within videos directly from the home screen, another lets you search for videos using your voice (web only) and the last helps you filter by topic in new languages: Spanish, French or Portuguese. All of them have time-limited access.

YouTube Premium costs $11.99 per month for ad-free viewing, YouTube Music, background play and other features. The Labs program probably isn’t enough to tempt anyone subscribing, but it could be a nice perk for loyal users.