YouTube is the go-to resource for anything video related on the internet these days. The website, first founded in 2005, has become the go-to place to view movie trailers, music videos or grumpy cat videos. They are constantly testing new features to try and improve the user experience. Recently a user on Twitter spotted a new feature which would allow thumbnails to auto play on a mouse over.
One major problem with searching for content on YouTube is the inability to get your desired video. Sure, the title may be correct, maybe even the thumbnail. However when you play the video, instead of the latest Michael Phelps gold medal performance, the user is treated to a video of kittens playing or even worse, the dreaded message that states that the video cannot be played due to copyright infringement. Don’t worry, YouTube has you covered.
Auto play isn’t a new feature by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it's widely used on a number of…well…more “mature” video streaming sites. This feature is activated simply by hovering the mouse pointer over the thumbnail of the video. The video will then begin playing within the thumbnail, and rather than wait for the video to load, the user can immediately see whether or not they are looking at the correct video.
The feature appears to have rolled out to the aforementioned Twitter user at random so readers may want to check YouTube to see if the feature is enabled on their end. They should do this from a computer though, because as of right now, it does not appear that this feature is currently available on mobile devices. In any case, given that more than half of YouTube’s traffic is from a mobile device, you can rest assured that it will eventually make its way to those users as well.
This feature could be a game changer for the video streaming site. It’s not as if YouTube is scared of any competition in the video streaming realm, however, the easiest way to stay on top is to keep improving your product. With the ability to preview videos, YouTube could do just that. More importantly, this could mean the end of being Rick Rolled.