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What are YouTube feature experiments
YouTube product teams are constantly testing out new tools and features to help you find, watch, share and create content more easily. These test features (sometimes also called “betas” or “experiments”) are usually available for a short period of time and only for a small group of people. 

If you ever notice that YouTube looks a bit different for you than it does for your friend or family member, you’re likely seeing one of these experiments. Be sure to give YouTube feedback and report any potential technical issues – our teams use this information and experiment results to help us decide if, when, and how to release these features more broadly. 


Learn more about some existing feature experiments
To help you keep up with these test features, our TeamYouTube Community Managers will pilot keeping this forum thread updated with cool and interesting ones that we think you’ll want to know about! While this post won’t include every experiment, it’s a good place to start if you’re curious about what we’re testing out, or whether or not you’re currently seeing an experiment.

  • [May 26 2020] Testing out AutoPlay Button in the video player: To make it easier to find and use the autoplay button on mobile, we’re adding the button directly inside the player instead of in the watch next section. This should help you adjust your autoplay settings without having to exit full screen and rotate your phone. As always, you can still adjust autoplay in settings. This experiment is available on iOS and Android to a small percentage of people while we gather feedback.

  • [Apr 30 2020] Testing out new icons on iOS: To help improve accessibility for mobile users, we’re experimenting with higher contrast icons on the YouTube mobile app. This experiment is on iOS-only and available to a small percentage of people while we gather feedback.

  • [April 28 2020] Testing ‘Products in this Video’ feature: To help viewers discover products, we’re running a small experiment that will show to some viewers which products are mentioned in the video with new visual elements (overlayed on the video and below the video). For example, in a ‘top 10 smartphones in 2020’ video, some viewers will see an icon on the video, along with more information below, listing the phone models included in the video.

  • [April 10 2020] Testing new video chapters on mobile: To help you more easily navigate videos, we're testing out video chapters, which allow you to jump forward to a specific section of the video, rewatch a portion of the video, and more. Chapters appear at the bottom of the video player and use timestamps from the creator's video description. The feature will appear on a small selection of videos across Android, iOS and desktop while we gather feedback. Note for Creators: if you’re in the experiment and wish to opt out, please adjust the first timestamp in your video description to be something other than 0:00 for example, just change it to be "0:01."

  • [April 9 2020] Testing out a new comment section on mobile: To make it easier to find comments while you’re watching videos (without having to scroll through the entire list of “Up Next” videos!) we’re testing out a new comment section that appears directly below the video. This experiment is mobile-only and only available to a small percentage of people while we gather feedback. More details.

  • [Mar 27 2020] Testing bigger thumbnails in the search results: To make it easier for you to quickly find and recognize the video you’re searching for on YouTube, we’re testing bigger thumbnails in the search results. These thumbnails also make room for longer video titles, higher resolution previews and channel icons, so you’ll see more information about each video at a glance (like the experience on Home already!). This experiment is available to a small group of people on both mobile and desktop while we gather feedback.


  • [Feb 19 2020] Testing the ability to schedule Community posts on desktop: To make it easier for creators to plan their Community tab content ahead of time, we’re testing a feature that allows you to schedule posts (including photos, text, GIFs, and polls!). This experiment is desktop-only and available to a small percentage of creators while we gather feedback.

  • [Jan 24 2020] Testing another version of the YouTube video sticker in Stories: To make it easier to watch YouTube videos linked in Stories, we’re testing a video sticker that links you directly to the video (without first having to add it to your Watch Later playlist). We also hope this helps creators direct their audience to their own VODs, as well as VODs from other creators! This experiment is only available to a small percentage of people while we gather feedback.

  • [Jan 14 2020] Testing comment features for Community Posts: We’re testing out some existing comment features on Community Posts including the ability to reply to comments, receive notifications when your comment gets a reply, and the option to sort comments by “newest first”. These features are only available on new Community Posts created and not previous/existing Posts. For creators, we’re also testing ways for you to manage comments on your Community Posts directly in YouTube Studio, including the option to pin a comment on your Post. This experiment is only available to a small percentage of people while we gather feedback.

  • [Jan 7 2020] Testing a new way to share other creators’ community posts: To make it easier for creators to collaborate with other creators and amplify each others content, we’re testing a feature that lets you share each others' community posts with your own audience. Sharing posts is easy: tap the “share” icon on the post, type some new text/info for your audience, then select “share post”. Your reshare will appear on your channel’s Community tab, and may appear in your audience’s Home or Subs feeds. This experiment is only available to a small group of creators with 1k+ subscribers while we gather feedback on mobile & desktop.

  • [Dec 17 2019] Testing 'featured in this video' section on Android: To make it easier to discover new creators and subscribe to their channels, we’re testing out a “featured in this video” section right below the video you’re watching – it will highlight creators who are featured in the video (based on a range of signals about the video) and include links to the featured creator’s channel with the option to subscribe. We’re starting this experiment with a diverse group of top searched creators across various categories on YouTube, and only a small percentage of viewers using the YouTube Android app will see the feature while we gather feedback.


  • [Dec 16 2019] Testing out Explore on mobile: To help you more easily discover videos and channels across YouTube, we’re testing out a new tab called Explore. With Explore, you’ll have access to destinations across numerous topics like fashion, music, gaming, and more – all from one place. Trending isn’t going away and will have its own section in Explore. We also want to better support growing/emerging YouTube channels, so we're testing a design where Creator & Artist on the Rise will be more prominent. P.S. You may recognize the name “Explore” as we started testing this last year – this update builds upon those experiments with a new design!

  • [Dec 10 2019] Testing short video uploads next to YouTube Stories on mobile: To help you discover different types of video formats, we’re running an experiment to display short vertical videos (under 30 seconds) alongside YouTube Stories on mobile. If you see this experiment, you'll notice a row of videos that says: “Stories and short videos”. Looking forward to your feedback!


  • [Dec 9 2019] Testing enhanced store links in video descriptions for channels using Merch: To help you quickly browse a channel’s merch and watch their video at the same time, we’re testing out enhanced store links in video descriptions. For this experiment, when you tap on a link in the description that goes to the same store as the merch shelf, you’ll see a popup of products directly in the YouTube app vs redirecting you to the store. From there you can browse and compare products while continuing to watch the video. You can tap on any product to redirect to the store, where you can learn more or purchase. This experiment is only available to a small percentage of viewers on mobile while we gather feedback. 

  • [Dec 4 2019] Testing out community posts in the “Up Next” section on mobile: To make it easier for you to engage with a creator’s community posts and watch their videos at the same time, we're testing Community posts in the “Up Next” section below videos. Community posts that show up here will only belong to the creator whose content you’re currently watching. Also, a post will not show up if the channel hasn’t posted to the Community recently. This experiment is mobile-only and available to a small percentage of people while we gather feedback.

  • [Nov 27 2019] Testing out new subscribed badges on the homepage: To help you quickly recognize which videos on Home are from channels you're subscribed to, we're testing out a new "subscribed" badge that will appear below the video, alongside the creator's channel icon. We're starting these experiments on Android with a small percentage of people, and it will come shortly to iOS too!

  • [Nov 21 2019] Testing upcoming changes on made for kids videos with a small percentage of viewers: In January 2020, we’ll change how we treat data for children’s content on YouTube to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This means certain features that rely on data, such as comments, notifications, and live chat, will no longer be available on content that is “made for kids”. To prepare for these changes, we're first testing with a small percentage of viewers to help us find potential issues and fix them before rolling out more broadly in January. See a full list of affected features here and more context behind the update here.

  • [Nov 13 2019] Testing out new ways to highlight comments from channel members: To help creators and their channel members more easily recognize and explore comments from the membership community, we’re testing out new ways to highlight comments from members of a channel, including members-only comment sections. This experiment is Android-only and only available to a small percentage of creator channels and their viewers while we gather feedback. More details.

  • [Nov 5 2019] Testing out new optional topics in the Subscriptions feed: To make it easier for subscribers to catch up with their favorite creators, we’re testing out new topics in the Subscriptions feed including All, Today, Continue watching, Unwatched, Live & Posts. When you select a topic, videos will be ordered in reverse chronological order, i.e. latest to oldest. The default subscriptions feed, that is "All", does not change and will continue to list videos from latest to oldest. We're starting these experiments on iOS with a small percentage of people. The experiment will come shortly to Android too!
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