Google is probably the king of change when it comes to user interfaces, regularly testing new versions of its apps and operating systems to see how people react to different looks designs. The YouTube app seems to be the latest in a series of sweeping UI changes by the company, this time around changing up how we watch videos while looking for more videos to watch. Some time ago, Google revamped YouTube's interface to include a feature that allows users to minimize the current video they're watching by giving it a swipe-down. This video them moved into a thumbnail, situated on the bottom right, allowing you to scroll through YouTube's extensive video catalog for your next binge fest.
Today's app update seems to be revamping that interface for a far friendlier one, albeit making the thumbnail smaller and far less useful. Minimizing the video that's currently playing will move it into a horizontal card that floats just above the bottom navigation bar in the app, with a clear short description of the video, the channel the video is from, as well as easy to press play/pause and close buttons. Swiping up on the card still brings the video back into full-screen view. The previous interface only featured two options for navigation; swipe left to close the video, or swipe up to bring it back to full screen. This change comes in the wake of a number of sweeping changes to apps, some of which have happened over the past several months, making options more user-facing and less buried in menus.
It certainly behooves Google to encourage users to keep scrolling through content and watching more videos, so it makes sense to see this as much of a cosmetic change as it is a functional one. Google has been moving further towards visually obvious gestures, instead of hidden ones, by providing on-screen elements to click, drag or slide, as well as easy to see and use controls like the ones visible here. We've also seen a huge push for bottom-facing navigation, instead of left-hand slide-out menus or tabs up top, and again, this fits right in with that design. Check out the screenshot below and head on over to the Play Store for YouTube app version 13.19.58.