YouTube has usually allowed users to test new features and products before they go live to a wider audience. However, in a recent change, YouTube’s latest series is being limited to those who subscribe to YouTube’s premium service. Currently, paid customers were only able to test a number of new product features, including one that allows iOS users to watch YouTube videos directly on the home screen.
YouTube says the goal with the new experiments is twofold. They permit product teams to provide feedback on different features and also allow Premium subscribers to behave as first testers if they wish to do so.
Premium users who have an option to participate can activate and deactivate the new features individually, can only try one experiment at a time.
The non-Premium users can choose to register to be notified of additional opportunities to participate in YouTube research studies if they want to.
This is not similar to the picture-in-picture option available to iOS 14 app developers. YouTube also said that the new feature allows users to watch videos on their YouTube homepage with sound while scrolling through their feeds.
These experiments are actually based on the search. One of them lets users filter topics they search for by additional languages, including Spanish, French, or Portuguese. The other lets users use voice search to pull up videos when using the Chrome web browser.
YouTube said, “The option to test the features was offered to Premium subscribers just a few weeks ago within the YouTube app. This is the first time that YouTube has tried out an experimentation program related to the Premium service.”
In the past years, YouTube had permitted all users to try out new features in development from TestTube, a dedicated site. However, in more recent years the company began to use the website YouTube.com to direct interested users to upcoming features before rolling them out publicly. For instance, users could visit that same website to check out the preview before the launch of the YouTube redesign in 2017.
So far, the company has not made any formal announcement, but the addition has been spotted by several blogs.
This new addition will likely serve to attract more YouTube users to the Premium membership, as there is some influence in being able to try out features and products before the general public. It can likely be called another membership benefit, a little more on top of the basic Premium tier features like ad-free video, download, background play, and more.