The other day, we here at Tubefilter were browsing our YouTube home page when we got an interesting prompt from the platform.
“Craving something new?” it said, and then offered three options: red, green, and blue. “Create a feed of videos based off color, and enjoy exploring.”
We tapped through the blue option and got a feed where video thumbnails featured a lot of skies, bodies of water, and blue-backgrounded/blue-lettered title cards.
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We’re not the only ones who got this prompt. 9to5Google got the same popup on Android (we’re on iOS), and clicked through the red option to find it offers MKBHD posing next to a red Tesla and Elmo on CNN.
So what’s the deal with this thing? YouTube told The Verge this feature is being tested, and that it’s currently available to “select users on Android and iOS mobile devices.” It didn’t give any details about why it decided to introduce color feeds, or how the color feed system works.
Based on what we, 9to5Google, and The Verge saw, video thumbnails appear to factor heavily into whether a video is selected for a certain color feed. It’s possible YouTube is skimming through the rest of the video, too, but since this is a feed based on color coordination, it makes sense that its algorithm would pull content with similarly colored thumbnails, creating a red/blue/green rolodex of aesthetically organized videos.
If a user chooses to activate one of the color feeds, it’ll appear on their home page as a side-scrolling feed. It won’t change the rest of the home page.
We don’t know whether YouTube will roll this feature out to everyone or not. As with all test features, its fate is as yet undetermined.