YouTube’s awful annotations are being wiped out in January

Eric Abent - Nov 27, 2018, 3:27 pm CDT
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YouTube’s awful annotations are being wiped out in January

For a decade now, YouTube creators have been overlaying annotations in their videos for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s to note a correction, and other times it’s to link to a supplementary or new video. For end users, annotations can often be annoying pop-ups that get in the way of videos, but the good news is that viewers won’t have to contend with them much longer.

Last year, YouTube announced that it was shutting down its annotations editor. The primary reason for this move was that annotations have never been displayed on mobile devices, and with a growing number of YouTube viewers accessing videos through its various mobile apps, there was little point in continuing to support annotations they’d never see. YouTube also said that end screens and cards – both of which work on mobile – are more engaging for viewers and oftentimes easier to create than annotations.

When YouTube announced that it was discontinuing the annotations editor, it said that existing annotations would continue to show on the desktop site. Today, we’re learning that will be the case for only a little while longer. In an update to its original support article, Google says that all existing annotations will be disabled on January 15, 2019.

While this might be somewhat annoying for creators who went all-in on annotations when the feature launched back in 2008, it’s definitely good news for viewers. These days, annotations certainly feel like an antiquated feature, especially when the adoption of things like end screens has become so widespread.

In fact, it can almost be jarring to encounter a video covered in annotations here in 2018, so we’re guessing there aren’t a ton of YouTube users who will be sad to hear that they’re going away. If, however, you somehow love annotations, then you’ve got a couple precious months left to spend with them.


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