Before going live to a broader audience, YouTube has long encouraged its users to test new features and products. But in a recent update, the new series of tests on YouTube are limited to those who subscribe to the YouTube service’s Premium tier. Currently, the only ones able to test some new app features are paying subscribers, including one that allows iOS users to stream YouTube videos on the home screen directly.
To be sure, this is not the same thing as the Picture-in-Picture option that has become available to iOS 14 app developers. Instead, YouTube claims this feature allows users who scroll through their YouTube home page to watch videos while scrolling through their feed with the sound.
There are two other search-related experiments. You can philter the topics you are searching for by using additional languages, such as Spanish, French, or Portuguese. The other lets you use voice search while using the Chrome web browser to pull up images.
However, none of these assessments would be very long. For instance, two of the three new experiments end on October 20, 2020. On October 27, the other wraps. And they’ve been alive for just a few weeks now.
In previous years, YouTube had allowed all users to try out new features from a dedicated website named “TestTube.” In recent years, however, it started to use the YouTube.com / new website to guide interested users to upcoming features before they were officially rolled out. For instance, users could visit the same website when YouTube launched its redesign in 2017 to opt-in to the preview ahead of its launch.
Now, to support other limited-time experiments, the site is being used.
YouTube says the choice of checking the functionality inside the YouTube app was highlighted to Premium subscribers a few weeks ago. We’re told it’s also the first time YouTube has run an experimental program connected to the Premium service.
The business did not make a formal public announcement, but some websites, including XDA Developers and Android Central, for instance, simply spotted the addition.
However, contrary to some rumors, it does not seem that the purpose of YouTube is to close all of its experiments to anyone but its paying subscribers. The company’s assistance documentation states that this restriction would only apply to “some” of its tests.
YouTube also explained to TechCrunch that only a “small minority” of those running on YouTube reflect the tests featured on the site. And, according to the company, they are not at all part of the larger range of product tests the company conducts.
Non-Premium users can also choose to sign up to be informed of future opportunities, if they choose, to engage in other YouTube study studies. This choice appears at the bottom of the page under YouTube.com / new.
With the latest experiments, YouTube says the target is two-fold. It enables product teams to gain input on various features and, if they wish to, it allows Premium members to serve as early testers.
Premium users who wish to participate can individually opt-in and out of the experimental functionality, but can only try one experiment at a time.
This could help to attract more users of YouTube to the Premium subscription, as there is a certain degree of leverage involved in the opportunity to test functionality and products before the general public. Then consider it another subscription advantage, something extra on top of the Premium tier baseline features such as ad-free videos, downloads, background play, and more.