YouTube Premium gets ‘jump ahead,’ a new picture-in-picture mode, and more

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YouTube has really been pushing its users to join YouTube Premium lately. The main selling point for most is the ad-free YouTube experience — ad-free without having to use an ad blocker, that is, and the company has recently been cracking down on ad blocker use.

But YouTube seems to realize it’s not just the ad-free experience that will attract potential paying Premium subscribers.

YouTube announced a slew of new features this week for its YouTube Premium subscribers. Those updates include a jump ahead feature, a new picture-in-picture option, as well as a number of “experimental” features. Plus, YouTube also hinted at some upcoming updates too, such as new subscription plan options. Let’s break it down.

Jump ahead

YouTube has always allowed users to skip to any part of a video in the YouTube player. Now, YouTube Premium subscribers will have an even easier time skipping to the parts of a video that are popular among the broader YouTube audience.

With jump ahead, YouTube Premium subscribers just need to double tap the right side of a YouTube video and then click the “jump ahead” button that shows up. After that, YouTube will automatically bring the user to the part of the video most commonly skipped to. YouTube says the feature is powered by its internal watch data and AI. Heads up, though. According to YouTube, not all videos will display this feature.

Picture-in-picture YouTube Shorts

Picture-in-picture video is not new to YouTube. But, apparently, users previously couldn’t use the picture-in-picture option with YouTube Shorts.

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Now, shortform video on YouTube can be viewed via picture-in-picture while users multitask within other apps. Unfortunately, it does seem like this new YouTube Premium feature is only available on Android devices.

Why would someone want to watch a YouTube Short, which is less than one minute long, with picture-in-picture? Well, this new feature appears to autoplay YouTube Shorts while users use other apps on their Android device. For the passive consumption video addicts out there, this could be a killer feature.

New “experimental” features

For the month of July, YouTube is letting YouTube Premium subscribers exclusively try out three upcoming YouTube updates before everyone else.

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Until July 15, YouTube Premium users can opt-in to test out Shorts Smart Downloads, which automatically downloads recommended YouTube Shorts videos to their device for offline viewing. This test feature is currently only available on Android devices.

YouTube is also testing another Android exclusive feature within the YouTube for Android app called Conversational AI. Premium users can “ask” AI questions about certain videos they’re watching. Based on the users’ prompts, Conversational AI will provide answers and recommend content while the video plays. YouTube Premium subscribers can try this feature out until July 31 and YouTube is asking users to provide feedback as to whether the AI provides helpful information.

For non-Android owning YouTube Premium users, YouTube has a redesigned watch page to test out. The new watch page brings a YouTube video title and description as well as the comments left on it over to a new sidebar on the right-hand side. The focus of the new watch page is now on the video content as well as a selection of recommended video content that now appears directly under the video player. Premium subscribers can try out the new watch page until July 8.

By going to youtube.com/new, YouTube Premium users can opt-in to test these features out now.

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More YouTube Premium updates coming

In a separate post about the YouTube Premium updates in the YouTube Help forums, the company hinted at some upcoming updates. These updates include more Premium controls and download options. 

YouTube also mentioned that the company is also exploring adding additional Premium plan options for users. YouTube said it would expand “existing offers to more regions” as well as introduce entirely new plans. Plus. the post also mentioned “exploring ways” for Premium subscribers to share “benefits” with friends. 

YouTube could be exploring family plans or multi-member options. Or the company could be talking about something completely different. With YouTube’s newfound focus on YouTube Premium, it seems we could be finding out exactly what they’re talking about very soon.

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