Ever since it was launched, YouTube has provided people on the internet entertainment. Now, more than a decade later, it still continues to do that. As a matter of fact, YouTube is the largest video-streaming platform. Also, it is the second most-visited website – losing only to its parent, Google.
Throughout its years, YouTube has seen many changes in the way it operates. Mostly, the company added new features to improve its capabilities further to serve its users- both creators and viewers. For instance, there is the YouTube Partner Program to help creators make a living from their content. These various assortments of cool features attracted people of all ages. Everybody is using YouTube – regardless if they are Millenial. Boomer, Gen X, or Gen Z.
Needless to say, YouTube has never fallen down in popularity. It remained consistent and retained its title as the premier provider of video entertainment, even when tough competitors like TikTok arose. But because of the pandemic, its popularity has surged to new heights. There are more than two billion monthly users.
As people were forced to stay home due to lockdowns, they had nothing much to do. It seems they took it to YouTube to entertain them during these stressful times. But entertainment is not the only thing that can be found on YouTube. It is also popular social networking and community space. Furthermore, there are lots of opportunities for businesses and brand-builders on the platform.
YouTube understands that this increase in the importance of videos in people’s lives requires them to do product enhancements. And the company is not wasting time. In February, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan released a statement about its plans for the year.
“In order to meet these demands in the year ahead, we’re looking to redefine how the world experiences video,” wrote Mohan. He says that YouTube’s job is to “create the best setting” for its creators and the best viewing experience for its audience. And thus, it is introducing a batch of cool new or improved features this year.
What’s Coming? More Ways to Buy Views on YouTube
Here’s a list of the updates and upgrades YouTube is getting in 2021.
Increased Protection For Minors
YouTube has been involved in controversies surrounding how its platform is allegedly exploiting children on the platform. The company has denied these accusations. Still, YouTube – or Google, in a broader scope – is introducing better protection for users 13 – 17 years old. Google admits that some of these changes being made are being required by law. But, there are other things they added to their own initiative.
“We’ve gone beyond what’s required by law to protect teens on Google and YouTube,” said a spokesperson in a statement. Teens above all others are buying YouTube views with their parents credit card to start YouTube careers.
YouTube will gradually adjust the default setting for videos uploaded by teens to the most private setting. This way, only those they share with and connect with will be able to see their content. The teen could still change it so their videos will be served to the wide public. The difference is that it will now become an intentional choice – similar to giving consent. YouTube would also notify the user of what would happen when they change this setting.
Enhanced Navigation Tools
Finding a certain point in a video was such a cumbersome task in the past. You have to either utilize the skip button or drag the progress bar manually. Timestamps made the process a little easier, though it requires users to look in the comments section or the video description. Last year, YouTube solved that problem by introducing Chapters. YouTube is optimizing this feature further this year.
Also, the company promises to deliver an improved tablet experience later this year.
Short-form Video Experience
This is something we already see today in the form of YouTube Shorts. YouTube launched it first in India – where TikTok is banned, then brought it to the U.S. Later on, YouTube launched Shorts to 100 countries.
Basically, this feature allows people to create short-form video content using only their mobile phones. What’s great about this format is it’s more friendly to new creators. They can get their channels off the ground easier here than in “regular” YouTube.
Improved YouTube Music Recommendations
YouTube continues its efforts to improve its music streaming service. It plans to do that by offering “more personalized mixes.” Also, YouTube is looking to improve the discoverability of playlists created by users.
YouTube TV in 4K
YouTube’s streaming television service streams more than 85 networks and offers unlimited DVR storage. However, it is still available only in the US. Even with that limitation, it has grown its user base to 3 million paid subscribers.
The good news for these subscribers, YouTube TV, is introducing new handy features. YouTube will launch 4K TV streaming this year. You will be able to watch with the best definition available.
On top of that, YouTube is giving subscribers the ability to watch DVRed programs offline.
YouTube VR Homepage
If you thought YouTube was forgetting VR users, you are wrong. It is redesigning the YouTube VR app homepage. The reworked version will feature improved navigation and functionality.
To give its streamers more support, YouTube is following in Twitch’s footsteps. It is testing the Super Thanks feature. Users can buy this when they watch a content creator’s video. It will give them a “clapping” animation -which only they can see – above the video. Also, it will give them “distinct, colorful comments in the video’s comments section.” The money spent in buying the Super Thanks will go directly to the creator.
Adding a shopping feature is now common on social media platforms. Facebook and Instagram are doing it, and Twitter has recently started too. YouTube is riding the wave.
This year, the video streaming giant is launching an integrated shopping tool. It will allow viewers to buy from the creators without leaving YouTube. At present, creators sell products and merchandise through third-party websites. It’s a little inconvenient. So, this feature will be warmly received.
YouTube is still at the early stages of testing most of these features. So, you can expect more improvements in the future.