YouTube testing video titles & comments in the sidebar

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YouTube, the video-sharing platform owned by Google, has seen several changes since its inception in 2005. Some changes were received positively, like the introduction of YouTube Shorts, while others weren’t. After all, we all remember the infamous update that removed the dislike counter, right?

Google is experimenting with another potential update drastically affecting the platform’s UI. While there’s no confirmation that the change will take effect as it’s still in the testing phase, the consensus towards the change is overwhelmingly negative.

YouTube video titles & comments get boxed in the sidebar

Phrases like “Leave a comment down below” and “Smash that like button under the screen” are engraved in YouTube history. Countless videos have these phrases said or written, but a YouTube test feature for the web might make them moot.

Some YouTube users reportedly see a major change to the platform’s web video player. Every YouTube video’s title, description, and comments have been at the bottom of the video player for a while. However, an experimental UI change seemingly pushed into the sidebar. Replacing the core video details are recommendations, which previously used to be in the sidebar. Even when the video player is changed to theatre mode, the details, while under the player, are in the lower-right corner of the screen.

As expected, most users hate the UI change. Details like a video’s title, comments, and especially description are core components that many users rely on to determine whether they want to watch something, especially with autoplay turned on. However, minimizing these details and pushing them to the side to show users video recommendations under videos instead doesn’t sit right with many users, even if the change is only for the web version.

The UI test feature is especially jarring when considering that the recommendations are much larger than they used to be. This change gives users the impression that Google wants users to spend more time on the platform by being enticed by a recommended video, increasing overall watch time.

Will this feature be implemented for everyone?

It’s unknown if the UI change will be permanently implemented for everyone. YouTube confirmed on X that it’s only “an experiment/test feature,” suggesting it might not make it past the testing phase.

Interestingly, users who received this experimental feature are average users who haven’t opted to receive testing features and updates. This decision likely led to some users being blindsided by the UI update. This is without mentioning that there’s no option to revert the platform’s UI to the base version.

Fortunately, YouTube stated users can submit formal feedback to Google. Through it, they can let the tech giant know if they like or dislike the experimental UI change. With enough negative feedback, video titles and comments likely won’t go anywhere. Alternatively, the company might find a better way to implement the change, similar to the YouTube TV comment section change.