YouTube announced updates to enhance the experience of both creators and viewers on the platform globally. One of the new changes is a modernised interface for tablets. YouTube is also updating its video chapters feature that was introduced last year with the ability to automatically add chapters to relevant videos. It is also adding new parental controls to YouTube Kids. Additionally, YouTube is rolling out its TikTok-like YouTube Shorts in the US starting this March. The short video feature has so far been under testing in India.
As people watched a variety of content in different formats and styles while staying indoors last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, YouTube saw distinct content viewing and creation patterns. That change has resulted in some of the updates that the platform is now bringing to the public.
YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan details the new features in a blog post. He says that the Google-owned platform wanted to meet growing demands for video consumption by bringing a series of updates in 2021.
Mohan said that YouTube now supported formats including SD, HD, 4K, VR, HDR, and live video “on nearly every device with an Internet connection”. However, to improve navigation, accessibility, and search functionality specifically for virtual reality (VR) content, the platform is bringing a redesigned YouTube VR app homepage later this year.
YouTube is also bringing automatic video chapters, which it has been testing for a couple of months. At present, YouTube creators need to manually add video chapters to their videos. Mohan says in the blog post that the video chapters feature is being used in over 20,000 videos each day.
Users on YouTube TV are also getting a new add-on package with 4K streaming, offline viewing, and unlimited concurrent streams at home. Mohan says that YouTube TV, which is so far limited to the US, has more than three million paid subscribers and over 85 networks.
In addition to the YouTube TV update, US users will receive YouTube Shorts to create 15-second short videos using their mobile devices. YouTube Shorts debuted in India in September last year and received over 3.5 billion daily views globally. Mohan noted that since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using YouTube Shorts feature has more than tripled.
YouTube Music, which is touted to have over 70 million official tracks alongside playlists, remixes, music videos, live performances, and covers, is also getting an update that will make user-created playlists easily discoverable to others on the platform.
YouTube Kids is getting new parental controls, including the option to let parents add specific videos and channels from the main YouTube platform to their children’s viewing choices. Mohan says that YouTube Kids as a platform already has over 35 million monthly weekly viewers across more than 80 countries.
Apart from the experience-centric updates, YouTube is strengthening monetisation on its platform for creators by testing a new applause feature. “This feature unlocks new monetisation opportunities for creators’ uploads, and we’re looking forward to launching this more broadly to creators this year,” says Mohan.
YouTube is also beta testing a new integrated shopping experience that will allow viewers to make informed purchases directly from the platform.
In the recent past, YouTube has also improved the experience on the platform by adding voice commands to its Web client and rolling out hashtag landing pages to ease discovery of videos made on popular topics.
Is Mi QLED TV 4K the best affordable smart TV for enthusiasts? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.