YouTube is introducing a new Premium experiment that lets you ask questions about a video that’s playing via a chat bot. Even writing that out sounds crazy, but it looks pretty interesting so far. This feature is designed to allow viewers to ask away without hitting the pause button and going to Google something. Currently in its test phase, “YouChat”, as it’s being dubbed, is accessible to a select number of users, with plans for a broader rollout to YouTube Premium members in the U.S. on Android devices in the near future.
You can interact with the chatbot by tapping an “Ask” button beneath the video, prompting a conversational exchange where the AI provides information sourced from both YouTube’s itself and the wider web. Interestingly, this system is not using Bard, but is powered by a different LLM specifically made for the task.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll learn more about how viewers are using these new features and continue to introduce more updates that make YouTube even more relevant and useful,” a YouTube rep said in an email, adding that the platform “remain[s] committed to keeping our long-standing responsibility mission front and center as we introduce these features across the app.”Google Spokesperson to Variety
My guess is that this utilizes the uploaded or generated closed captioning, video description and more to fetch answers about said video first, and then if it can’t find what it’s looking for, takes that information and checks it against Google Search.
It seems chat bots are becoming integrated with absolutely ever aspect of Google’s ecosystem, and depending on who you ask, this is either really good or really bad. Will you be asking questions about the video you’re watching with YouChat, or will you have patience enough to sit and watch it?
I can see how this can provide greater context to the content, but AI is not always accurate in its responses (read: hardly ever, depending on what you’re asking), so it could also skew a video’s performance or reliability by acting as an untrustworthy middle man. That’s just my opinion though, and I’ll be interested to see how this works out. The YouTube Experiment is avaiable until December 5, 2023 and you can access it here.