Editor's note by Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer: YouTube’s enormous library of content has always set us apart as a platform. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a good chance we have it on YouTube. But we know viewers need to easily find the videos they’re looking for, and quickly access the information they need. Our teams have invested significantly in improving that search experience over the years, and in today’s installment of our Innovation Series, we’re excited to share the latest technology to help you find what you’re looking for, from how-tos to DIYs. This complements the work we're doing to raise videos from authoritative sources when people come to YouTube looking for news and health information.
Everyday people come to YouTube looking for learning content like physics tutorials, how-to draw a tiger, product reviews on the latest tech products, and more. And today we’re introducing new ways to help people more easily search and find content on YouTube.
Making searches more visual
People told us that they’d like easier ways to see what a video is about on YouTube before diving into the actual content. We heard you! That’s why we’ve started to make our search page even more visual to help people get a better glimpse of what’s inside a video.
Up until now, when you browsed for a video to watch on YouTube, you’d see a thumbnail image of each video. It gave you a chance to gather a quick snapshot of the video’s content. Now, you’ll be able to make even more informed decisions about what you’re going to watch through video chapters directly in the search page. When available, these time-stamped images detail the different topics covered in videos and let you better evaluate the video you’re about to watch. You can also jump directly to the section most relevant to your specific interest.
Let's say you're looking for a good sourdough recipe and want to work on your kneading technique. With these new search results, you can see all the steps in the video, from feeding the starter to pulling the bread out of the oven - and skip right to the chapter on kneading.
Getting a chance to see a snippet of each video can also bring a lot of helpful context. On desktop, you can already scroll over a video and begin to see a snippet of the content on the search page. We’re rolling a version of this out to mobile to help you easily preview different videos and decide if it’s what you’re looking for.
Making more content available to everyone
While YouTube has A LOT of videos, they don’t always cover every topic across every language. And we’re always looking for new ways to make information more accessible and inclusive for all users globally. We now have some exciting approaches to improve content searches across the globe on YouTube.
We’re starting to show search results from other languages with automatically translated captions, titles and descriptions when relevant content in the local language isn’t available. This means that someone in Thailand can learn about quantum physics from a professor at MIT or viewers in Brazil can explore the Grand Canyon from home, with captions in their local language. We’ll start supplementing search results with English videos and plan to expand to more languages. Our hope is that all global content will become more accessible through translated captions and help creators reach a more global audience.
We also recognize that not all searches may have enough high-quality or relevant video content to fully address what you’re looking for. To better surface information you need, we’ve recently started experimenting with a new feature to complement search results with website links and other formats from Google Search. It’s currently available on mobile devices in India and Indonesia, but we’ll consider expanding to additional countries based on user feedback.
From discovering a video that deepens your understanding of a complex topic or inspires you to kick start a new hobby, we want to help you search for the right content on YouTube. We’ll continue to find ways to make that search experience even more intuitive and helpful in the future.
Read more: The next phase for searching on YouTube