YouTube wants to make binge-watching videos easier, more straightforward, and with as less friction as possible. What better way to do that than to copy what's perhaps one of the most used gestures these days — swiping?
The YouTube app is getting updated to make it easier to navigate between videos. The company has announced that it will roll out a new horizontal swiping gesture this week that lets users — iOS only for now — flip through multiple videos by swiping forward and backward, as done on Instagram Stories.
Once this update rolls out, moving from one video to the next will take less time than it does currently. Swiping to the left takes users to the next video, while swiping to the right will bring back the previous video they watched. The video will resume where the user left off too, YouTube confirms.
The change, as TechCrunch reports, will give users more control over video playback, especially on mobile where a whopping 70 percent of YouTube viewing takes place.
The feature doesn't come as a total surprise. In fact, it makes perfect sense for YouTube to do something like this. Video itself and its consumption has become more dynamic in years past, but the way they're watched and flipped through hasn't exactly received that much facelift. YouTube's changes are a welcome evolution of the typical video interface and should help lessen the friction involved in moving from one video to the next.
The update doesn't come as a surprise also because some users have previously seen the functionality on Android way back in July 2018.
Android Release Date
Unfortunately, there's no word yet on when the update will arrive on Android, which is kind of odd since YouTube is owned by Google, which owns Android. Perhaps the iOS rollout is its way of testing if people will warm up to the new gestures. Expect it to come sooner rather than later if the public reaction is positive.
YouTube has been rolling out a number of improvements for its mobile app in recent months. Just last year, the company rolled out short-form videos from content creators called Stories. It also released screen time controls, autoplaying videos on the mobile app's homepage, and in 2017, it introduced in-app video sharing and messaging.
The company's gesture experiments also stretch back as early as 2017. For instance, that year it introduced a feature where double-tapping fast-forwards or retracts it by 10 seconds. That's now a part of the YouTube mobile app, and it's easy to imagine swiping will soon be too.