The Youtube team has begun to roll out what are called Youtube Experiments. These features are a glimpse into what the service may or may not offer in the future and are only available to Premium subscribers. There are currently three experiments and one in particular could make using the video streaming service on a Chromebook much easier! All three of these are temporary for now, ending their test run before the last day of October, but if they do well, they’re sure to return.
Watch on your Home screen
The first Youtube experiment is for iOS users only. It allows those using an iPhone or an iPad to watch videos with sound and seek without leaving the home screen. If you want to test this out, just tap to unmute a video on the home screen and drag to skip forward or back. I imagine this looks and feels a lot like autoplay videos on Facebook. Available until October 20, 2020.
Filter by topic in additional languages
This is an interesting one. You can use this experiment to find personalized topics in several languages right from the top of your Youtube home screen. This will presumably help with accessibility for those who are multi-lingual. Instead of being forced to switch their Google account language preferences back and forth, they can just tap suggestion chips to filter out topics in Spanish, French or Portuguese to see videos that match that search query. If this experiment does well, I would think the team would add additional languages. Available until October 27, 2020. English based topical Youtube homepage suggestion chips have been available for some time now.
Voice search on the web
Okay, so get this. Available until October 20, 2020, this third experiment lets you voice search on Youtube’s web app! While that sounds pretty basic, I’ll tell you why it’s a big deal. The web has been lacking for a few years now when it comes to adopting app-based functionalities. Websites keeping with the times is something that just hasn’t happened as most developers have focused most of their energy on mobile app development. Now that web apps are taking off at breakneck speeds, we’re beginning to see many creators incorporate some of these features into their websites to improve their user’s experience. Placing a simple microphone icon next to the Youtube search bar saves you from manually typing out all of your searches. It’s so natural to just speak to our devices nowadays, so this makes a lot of sense. I would recommend that you give this experiment a try, especially on your Chromebook! The Youtube web app has a more natural navigation layout and thumbnail spacing than its Google Play app counterpart. Even if it does lack the ability to download videos for offline viewing, I would use the web app on a my Chromebook any day!
Voice searching on Google.com became a thing a while back and while not everyone may use it, it contributes to the accessibility of the web and brings a future of uniform functionality to our technology, further blurring the line between app and web, if only just a little. It’s nice to see Youtube testing the same feature and I hope enough people use it to justify its return once the experiment expires.