YouTube wants to suggest videos users actually like as it rolled out on April 26 an update to its iOS and Android apps, providing better recommendations for viewers and giving YouTube Mobile the much-needed visual tweaks on the home feed.
Prior to this new update, the app's home feed comes with a text-heavy layout with small thumbnails for the videos, very much like how the YouTube's desktop website looks like.
With the update onboard, however, both the iOS and Android versions of the app veer away from this kind of layout. The new homepage of the YouTube app now sports a single feed of larger images with only little information, rather than a cluster of videos.
Johanna Wright, Vice President of product management at YouTube, said in an interview with Wired that even if the app shows off fewer videos on the homepage, it can still make them more useful to users.
YouTube has likewise beefed up its recommendation algorithm, making suggestions more relevant to viewers. The new neural network-powered recommendation tools of YouTube Mobile take into account a wide array of data and content. Specifically, the tools consider users' location, what videos they liked or disliked, what videos they watched before, what time it is, and what device they are presently using.
"For everyone in the world, there's a potential feed that represents them and what they want to watch," said Wright.
YouTube says it has spent quite a few years figuring out how the app makes recommendations to its users.
To resolve issues regarding transparency and control, in the meantime, users will be able to check out their watch history and delete it if they wish.
This company's latest move is viewed as its effort to help keep its users in YouTube for a longer period of time. Better recommendations mean more chances users hit the play button on videos. This then helps YouTube serve up more ads and generate more money. On top of that, this also helps in attracting video producers to keep their videos within the app.
"We really feel like this feature is great for creators in two ways: one is in the user experience where we're able to show an icon on every video for the person who created it, and the second way is in the way we're seeing users watching more from their subscriptions in this new experience," Wright told Mashable.
YouTube has yet to announce when it plans to push out the new system to YouTube’s desktop site.
In related news, Tech Times earlier reported that YouTube unveiled a new functionality allowing viewers to stream live 360-degree videos via the app.