Google appears to be experimenting with a new feature in the YouTube app that automatically plays videos by default on the app’s home page. The experimental feature seems to be live for a small number of users at the moment, though it remains unclear how many YouTuber users are seeing autoplay videos on the home page, or in which countries the feature is currently available. It also remains to be seen when, and even if, YouTube plans to roll out the feature as part of a wider and final release.
For now, the experimental feature seems to be switched on by default, and as some users sift through the home page of the YouTube app, they will see videos playing automatically, although the audio appears to be muted by default with subtitles activated in place to allow the user to more engage with the preview view. For those who might find auto-playing videos more of an intrusive gesture than a convenience, there is an option within the app’s settings that allows users to turn off the feature completely. In addition, the app provides an option to enable autoplay over a Wi-Fi connection only, so as not to exceed any data caps.
Google has been playing with the idea of autoplay videos in a number of ways in recent times. In May of last year, an autoplay toggle began to show up for YouTube users, letting them watch videos and wait for the next clip to automatically play once the previous video winds up. Beyond YouTube, Google is also testing autoplay videos on its other platforms. For instance, the internet giant started testing the feature on its Search platform earlier this year, during which autoplay YouTube videos were showing up for some users who searched for certain images on their mobile devices. As of now, it is not clear when the latest round of testing will wrap up and there is no guarantee that the feature will make it to a stable rollout, as Google has been known to often test new features which never really make it through to everyone.