What you need to know
- YouTube will now highlight the "most replayed parts of a video" in a graph above the progress bar on desktop, Android, and iOS.
- High graph lines will indicate where other viewers showed the most interest, so you can skip ahead.
- YouTube is also testing a revamped preview tool while scrolling through the video progress bar.
A new YouTube feature overlays a graph above the video progress bar, showing where previous viewers spent the most time. The higher the graph's crest, the more that section of video was replayed.
Announced and launched on May 18, the YouTube graph will make it far quicker to jump to a video's highlights, as judged by other people.
For example, a sports highlight video will likely climb highest at the climactic play, while a how-to video on fixing a broken sink will rise up past the opening spiel.
If the graph's meaning isn't clear enough, the example image on the YouTube community page shows a "most replayed" thumbnail with a specific time as well. That'll make it easy, as the post says, to "quickly find and watch those moments" without having to skip through the video in five-second bursts.
Despite launching "today" on web and mobile, the feature doesn't appear available yet on Android or iOS as of publication. But we expect you'll soon see this visual shortcut on your Android phone of choice.
We have yet to see how YouTube creators will react to this new feature, as it essentially encourages viewers to skip past the majority of their content. This could hurt YouTubers financially by ensuring viewers skip past ad breaks to the meaty part of the content.
Google previously tested this feature on YouTube Premium. The announcement also teased a "new experimental feature" that'll "seek to the exact moment in a video that you want to watch," which will come to Premium subscribers first.
Along with its YouTube Shorts push to compete with TikTok, Google is clearly pushing to break up its longform content into smaller chunks to make them more palatable to viewers with short attention spans.
It recently announced it would add automatic chapter splits to 80 million old videos using Deepmind AI by next year, while also adding chapter support to smart TVs and consoles.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.