YouTube is testing large thumbnails on the homepage
If you have been to the streaming video site YouTube lately you may have noticed that the design of the homepage changed.
Google is apparently at it again with yet another test that changes the layout of the homepage of YouTube. The company uses A-B tests to analyze changes and help with the decision making process; the data helps Google decide whether a change should be implemented or not.
This particular change is visible to a fraction of the user base only at the time of writing. The YouTube homepage displays larger thumbnails when you open it; the current homepage displays small thumbnails next to each other. The video suggestions are sorted into groups such as recommended, from your subscriptions, or specific channels that you watched in the past or that others watched.
The new design does away with the grouping of content. Instead, all you get is a never ending stream of video listings supported by large thumbnails.
The new large thumbnail design is active on the YouTube homepage only. When you search, or browse subscriptions or trending listings, you will get the standard layouts.
The new design puts video thumbnails front and center. You might want to install the YouTube Clickbait Remover extension to prevent misuse of custom thumbnails on the site.
One effect of larger thumbnails is that you see fewer videos at a time. On my system, YouTube showed just six videos, two of them only half, on a page. The old design showed nine videos on a page without scrolling.
Large video thumbnails may look nicer and they may work better on TV screens even. The experience may be different on the desktop. YouTube displays fewer videos on a page which results in more scrolling. The removal of groups makes the whole homepage look even more random than before as you get even fewer control over what is displayed.
You could hide certain channels recommended to you in the old design, the new does not display any groups or channels so that the option is not there anymore.
The change feels more like another attempt to remove choice from YouTube, not that there has been much to begin with, and spoon feed videos that YouTube's algorithm selects to users. Yes, there is search and subscriptions that give you some control, but the clear simplification trend continues unhindered.
It is possible that the new design will be discarded again.
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