YouTube’s rolling out a whole bunch of new features and design updates, three dozen in total. Some of these tools are for the web app, while others are for the smartphone app and smart TV software. These features aren’t game-changers by themselves, but they add up to an improved user experience. Let’s go over some of the more interesting ones.
It’s now easier to speed up videos for those who just can’t get enough of really fast podcast clips. Just hold your finger down on the video and it’ll automatically bump up the playback speed to 2x. This feature is also useful for searching through a video for a relevant portion, in addition to fast-paced playback. The tool’s available across web, tablets and mobile devices.
The app’s launching bigger preview thumbnails to help with navigation. There’s also a new haptic feedback component that vibrates when you hover over the original start point, so you never lose your place. This will help when perusing videos with your finger on a smartphone or tablet, as the current way to do this isn’t exactly accurate.
One of the more useful updates here is a new lock screen tool to avoid accidental interruptions while you watch stuff on your phone or tablet. This should be extremely handy for those who like to take walks or exercise while listening to YouTube, as the jostling typically interrupts whatever’s on-screen. In other words, your quiet meditation video won’t accidentally switch to some guy yelling about the end of masculinity as your phone sits in a pocket, purse or handbag.
Speaking of guys yelling about the end of masculinity, the company’s finally (finally) added a stable volume feature, which ensures that the relative loudness of videos don’t fluctuate too much. This tool’s automatically turned on once you snag the update.
Even the humble library tab has gotten a refresh. It’s now called “You” and relays a bit more data than before. You’ll have access to previously watched videos, playlists, downloads and purchase all from one place. Again, this change impacts the app on both web and mobile devices.
The rest of the updates are design related, with on-screen visual cues that appear when creators ask you to subscribe complete with dopamine-enhancing sparkles when you finally “smash that like button.” There’s even a new animation that follows the view count and like count throughout a video’s first 24 hours. Some design elements extend to the smart TV app, including a new vertical menu, video chapters, a scrollable description section and more.
YouTube’s latest update is a tiered release and the company says it could be a few weeks before it reaches every user throughout the globe. The popular streaming platform says more features are forthcoming, including a redesign of the YouTube Kids app.
YouTube’s constantly changing up its core features. The past year has seen an enhanced 1080p playback option for web users and the company's even announced a spate of AI-enhanced creator tools, among other updates. Evolve or die right? The social media landscape, after all, is currently in the midst of something of a sea change.