Since its launch in 2005, by former PayPal employees, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, millions watch, re-watch and share YouTube videos from all over the world. It works as one of the subsidiaries of Google now, after it bought YouTube in 2006.
The powerful content distribution platform encourages people to connect and inspire others through big and small content creators and advertisers. More so, YouTube is leaving no stone unturned in improving its software with latest features and updates for the masses.
For instance, ever since Google boosted its algorithm and added YouTube videos in search results, more people have migrated to YouTube. With the rise in popularity, various businesses and influencers are making fortunes by attracting audiences to their YouTube channels.
As per TOI, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, said “Every single one of these updates are based on a lot of discussion and data, as well as feedback from the entire YouTube community.”
With updates for both creators and viewers, YouTube definitely knows how to enhance user experience and keep its audience engaged.
Here are all YouTube updates and features you may have missed
Certification for healthcare professionals
On 27 October, YouTube announced that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals will now be able to have their YouTube accounts certified.
In a statement, YouTube said, “This new step will allow us to expand to include high quality information from a wider group of healthcare channels.”
Those eligible for applying for the certification include mental health professionals as well as health-related information providers.
“This includes health source information panels that help viewers identify videos from authoritative sources and health content shelves that highlight videos from these sources when you search for health topics,” YouTube said.
The Google-owned video-sharing platform said that those wishing to apply “must have proof of their license, follow best practices for health information sharing as set out by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, the National Academy of Medicine and the World Health Organization, and have a channel in good standing on YouTube.”
While the application process started at health.youtube in the US on the day of the announcement, the company said that it will be expanded to other markets and will include additional medical specialities in the future.
On 10 October, YouTube introduced what it calls “handles” — which is essentially an ‘@name’ that will be used across platforms for creators.
“Every channel will have a unique handle, making it easier for fans to discover content and interact with creators they love,” YouTube said in a statement.
According to YouTube, the unique account name will be visible on channel pages and Shorts. Users will be able to tag the handle in comments, video descriptions, collaborations and titles — just like most other social media platforms.
Handles are distinct from channel names. YouTube explained that handles will serve “as another way to identify a YouTube channel.”
“But unlike channel names, handles are truly unique to each channel so creators can further establish their distinct presence and brand on YouTube,” the company said.
YouTube said that the feature will be rolled out soon and creators will be informed when it is available for their channels; personalised URLs will have their handles in the same name by default, but will have the option to change it should they want.
“The timing of when a creator will get access to the handles selection process depends on a number of factors, including overall YouTube presence, subscriber count and whether the channel is active or inactive,” YouTube said.
YouTube is silently testing a new feature that makes users on the platform view five unskippable ads before a video is played.
On 8 September, YouTube, via its official Team YouTube Twitter account, where it talks about updates, responded to a user’s complaint about being forced to view five ads.
“hmm…this may happen with a certain type of ad format called bumper ads, since they’re only up to 6 seconds long. if you’d like, you can send feedback directly from YouTube via the send feedback tool,” said Team YouTube.
hmm…this may happen with a certain type of ad format called bumper ads, since they’re only up to 6 seconds long. if you’d like, you can send feedback directly from YouTube via the send feedback tool
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) September 7, 2022
Gizmochina published a report on 13 September revealing that several users on the platform were complaining about the unskippable ads.
The report says that the unskippable ads system is being tested for YouTube free users and not for YouTube Premium users. This has led to speculations that YouTube may be planning to increase the number of users on its subscription-based YouTube Premium content.
Yet not all users who use YouTube’s free version are seeing the five ads, indicating that the system is still under testing.
Bumper ads, which Team YouTube mentioned in its tweet, were introduced in 2016. These ads are unskippable and can appear before, during or after a video.
Zoom in, zoom out
YouTube started testing a pinch-to-zoom feature for its mobile app for Premium users. According to 9to5Google, the feature is opt-in and works in both portrait and landscape viewing modes. Users can zoom into any part of the video for more clarity.
YouTube reportedly had the feature on test only till 1 September to collect user feedback and make changes accordingly. The feature is expected to roll out widely after YouTube makes any refinements, if needed.
Enhancing supervision functionality
Under supervised accounts, parents can choose a specific content setting for restricting full access to videos and music, which can be searched and played by children under 13 years of age. They can also opt for features, default account settings and ads they wish their children to see.
To further support parents, in January 2022, YouTube announced that these supervised accounts can now use the video sharing platform, on eligible smart TVs and on other devices such as smartphones, laptops, computers and tablets as an app or through the web browser. Children with supervised accounts can also access YouTube Music as an app as well as the website.
Additionally, in the US, parents having supervised accounts can even use YouTube, YouTube Kids and YouTube Music on Google Assistant-enabled devices.
Short videos have taken the internet by storm. Whether it is Instagram Reels or Facebook Reels, the demand for micro-video content keeps on increasing day-by-day as people prefer to watch short videos. YouTube too decided to integrate this in its platform in 2020, in the form of ‘Shorts.’ As per its official blog, YouTube Shorts has witnessed great success with 5 trillion all-time views.
To support this growth, in February, all Android devices were enabled to create Shorts by importing horizontal video clips of 60 seconds or less from their devices’ gallery.
In March, this feature was improved on iPhone, as per which one can better the lighting while recording a Short. To find the ‘Lighting’ icon on your iPhone, you need to tap on the ‘More Minimize’ option in the camera toolbar. Additionally, you can also retouch your video clip in real time now. All you need to do is tap on the ‘Retouch’ magic wand in the camera toolbar and experience a skin-smoothing effect on your phone. Both the features remain till you do not turn them off manually.
More so, you can now watch Shorts on your computer, laptop, tablet and mobile phone. If you are using a tablet or your phone, you can watch Shorts by tapping on the Shorts icon found at the bottom of the YouTube app or browser screen.
Improving YouTube Studio Editor
To further support video content creators, YouTube updated its Studio Editor feature in February with certain optimisations. Users can now add video thumbnails, end screens, audio tracks and info cards on their videos easily.
You can also trim and blur videos, accordingly. The purpose of this refinement is to streamline the process of video editing for the respective YouTube channel.
Empowering Subtitle Editors
According to YouTube, “Subtitle Editor is a new channel permission in YouTube Studio that allows creators to delegate subtitle creation on their channel to others.”
In April, the access for Subtitle Editors was upgraded with some measures. Creators can allow their trusted ones to add and edit subtitles on their videos and also change subtitles of videos set in a default language initially.
New Research Tab
Creators can now use YouTube Analytics to gauge how their channels are performing as per expected metrics and create content that can appeal to their audiences more.
Last month, YouTube introduced a new ‘Research’ feature that enables you to know what your viewers and audiences are searching for over the last 28 days. You can also get insights such as similar channel searches, content gaps and search volume of each term ranked as low, medium and high levels, which can further be filtered according to geography and language.
To get these insights, sign in and click on ‘Analytics’ found on the left side menu of your YouTube studio account. After that, select ‘Research’ and type any topic or term in the search bar to begin with. You can also see which search items you have saved, view Google Trends, report or unsave a search item.
YouTube will be introducing this feature in more languages in the coming months.
As a creator, you can moderate potentially inappropriate comments on videos, with a new optional setting in YouTube Studio.
In the optional ‘Increase strictness’ setting, you can hold more comments for review, especially when creators find potentially inappropriate content on their channels and wish to steer that away.
In April, YouTube strengthened its harassment and cyberbullying policy with respect to sharing personal identifiable information. Under this, you can no longer share anyone’s medical records and more personal information.
It has also created a new guideline called ‘Inappropriate content for kids and families’ to tailor ads that are suitable for children. It is divided into three categories: ‘Content that encourages negative behavior’, ‘Mature content aimed towards kids’ and ‘Shocking content aimed towards kids.’
(Feature and Hero Image Credit: YouTube/Facebook)