A new Youtube experiment that’s available only until January 7th for Premium subscribers lets you use the progress bar of many videos to seek out the most-watched moments based on user activity across the platform. You can enable it by visiting youtube.com/new, and toggling it on will automatically reflect the change. Simply do so, and then visit pretty much any video to see a graph while hovering over or dragging the video scrubber.
Of course, Youtube Experiments are temporary, and if they pick up enough steam and become popular enough for Google to implement them for all users, then they make a return a few months down the line. In the meantime, the company wants you to provide feedback about the feature instead of simply using it for fun, and is providing a feedback form to collect your observations.
Deemed “Heatseaker”, the new experiment is meant to make your experience better while viewing videos because using it means that you can cut through the noise and get straight to the best parts, as determined by all other viewers who have already trodden that ground before you.
I’m going to say this here and now – Heatseaker’s inclusion into the Youtube platform could mean that creators may see less watch time and therefore less ad revenue as a result. I’m not entirely certain how Google will balance this out, but it’s made it clear that it wants to be sure your time as a viewer isn’t wasted. If this means that Youtubers will cut the fat and improve the structure of their videos then, I’m all for it.
Because many of our readers are Youtubers though, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Does this “Heatseaker” experiment mean that Google is pulling the rug out from under creators? I know that back when the company discussed doing the same thing for podcasts, many people were upset because it meant that their listenership would get less of their personality and style for the podcast and would instead cut straight to the information. As someone who’s always very busy though, I’m in favor of that.