The latest YouTube experiment time-sensitive

Chris Burns - Apr 30, 2021, 4:35pm CDT
The latest YouTube experiment time-sensitive

This week Google began a limited YouTube experiment with some users on some videos. Like other YouTube “feature experiments”, you might see this feature on a few videos, or you might not see it at all. In some cases, users are able to opt in or out. In this case, there’s a way to know for sure if you’re part of the party.

As of April 29, 2021, YouTube is testing “new timed comments.” This system allows users to view comments “timed to the exact moment you’re watching in a video.” You might recognize this sort of comment system from sites like SoundCloud. You might be surprised that it’s not already been a part of most other websites that host audio and/or video – but it hasn’t!

This experiment is, as Jordan from Team YouTube suggested this week, “available on some videos to a small group of people” at the moment. They’re currently considering “rolling this out more broadly based on feedback.”

If you’d like to see if you are part of this experiment, you’ll need to open your YouTube app on iOS or Android. At the moment, it’s only the Android and iOS versions of YouTube that are part of this experiment – not any other platform. Once you have the app open, open a video, head to the comments section, and tap the Sort button.

If when you tap the Sort button, you see “Timed Beta,” you’ll be able to activate the timed comments experiment. If you do not see this option, you are not part of said experiment. It is possible that you could see this experiment on one device, but not the other.

Do you think it’ll make sense for YouTube to employ comments that appear at certain points along the timeline of each video? Does such a feature even make sense on the site with which it’s most often associated?


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