YouTube is recognized as the world’s most widely used video streaming platform, and it constantly strives to add new features that enhance user experience. To achieve this, YouTube runs various experiments to gather feedback on new additions. These experiments were recently expanded to include all users, while still giving Premium subscribers exclusive access to certain features. However, there are also hidden features that YouTube doesn’t publicize, leaving users to stumble upon them accidentally. One such hidden addition is the refreshed views and likes counters on videos.
Currently, the YouTube app on Android displays the number of likes and views a video has, but these numbers do not change while you’re watching the video. However, with this new addition, the likes and views counters are updated in real time with a visually appealing animation. This dynamic view and like count animation appear whether the video is playing or paused. Interestingly, the animation triggering the change in numbers seems to happen even when you switch to another app and reopen YouTube.
Despite searching through YouTube blogs and documentation, we couldn’t find any information regarding this minor but useful feature. However, we did come across a Reddit post from October that mentions this feature. A user in the post provides a solution to disable this behavior if desired.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine when exactly this feature was implemented on the YouTube app as the YouTube team has not made any official announcements. Additionally, this experiment appears to be limited to a select group of YouTube users worldwide. While we couldn’t find this feature on the Android version of YouTube personally, our findings indicate that it is available, as confirmed by AP’s Google editor Manuel Vonau. The provided video above offers a demonstration of this feature.
YouTube has a dedicated page for test features and experiments that sheds some light on this phenomenon. The page explains that if you notice YouTube looking slightly different for you compared to your friends or family members, it is likely due to one of these experiments.
Looking at recent updates on the YouTube experiments page, the last entry is from over two weeks ago. This update announced the limited rollout of AI-generated soundtracks for YouTube Shorts content. While closely monitoring the platform, we have observed several other under-development features being tested. It’s worth noting that these features vary in popularity among users.
Another feature recently spotted by members of the Android Police team is the wider rollout of a smaller ad skip button, which has been renamed to “Skip.” This change was initially introduced in August but on a limited scale. This update is a positive one, as it reduces the frustration caused by being bombarded with multiple unskippable ads consecutively. In the past, such experiments have faced severe backlash from users, leading YouTube to abandon those plans altogether.
In conclusion, YouTube continues to experiment with new features to enhance user satisfaction. Some features are officially announced, while others are left for users to discover. The refreshed views and likes counters with real-time updates is one such hidden addition that improves the user experience. These experiments highlight YouTube’s commitment to staying at the forefront of video streaming platforms and catering to the needs and preferences of its global user base.