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Sunday, January 14, 2024

Hey YouTube, a swipe or a hover just isn’t an lively view!

youtube watch history mobile

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

I’m not delusional in regards to the state of social media and the net as of late. I perceive that corporations need me to get sucked into their apps, devour increasingly more content material, and provides them extra perception into my preferences to allow them to floor adverts for me or promote me issues. I get all of that, however each time I open YouTube as of late, it appears like Google is violating the very implicit settlement we made a few years in the past: I watch movies I’m serious about and I get served extra movies I is likely to be serious about. That’s why I subscribe to YouTube Premium and pay a month-to-month price to observe a bunch of movies ad-free.

Nonetheless, the explanation for my mistrust is that YouTube has, for a protracted whereas now, began counting my passive views as actual views.

Are you irritated by YouTube counting previews as actual views?

305 votes

Once I’m on my desktop, if I hover over a video thumbnail on the homepage or in my subscriptions (or wherever, actually), it robotically begins enjoying that video and provides it to my watched historical past. Once I’m on my Android cellphone, if I scroll previous a video, it auto-plays and exhibits up in my historical past, too.

Issues are worse if I’m watching Shorts, as a result of I don’t know what’s coming subsequent, and about 20% of the content material I’m served is content material I’d by no means actively click on to observe. But, the mere incontrovertible fact that I swiped up and the subsequent video (that YouTube selected) began enjoying counts as an lively watch.

My total YouTube watch historical past is affected by movies I merely ‘previewed’ or scrolled previous, not movies I actively watched.

The result’s that my watch historical past — and the algorithm’s understanding of my preferences too — finally ends up being affected by false positives. Movies I by no means supposed to observe, movies I by no means would’ve clicked on by alternative, movies I used to be briefly intrigued by however that didn’t register quite a lot of seconds of curiosity…

They’re all there, in my watch historical past, making it robust to search out and are available again to the movies I truly watched. I’ve typically discovered myself telling my husband, “Oh, it is best to see this,” then scrolling for minutes on finish to land on the one video that truly caught my consideration.

And these false positives are additionally all there, within the algorithm’s database of habits and information it has collected about me. I’m positive Google has some weighting scale for its suggestions. A Brief I solely noticed 5 seconds of earlier than skipping in all probability doesn’t rely as a lot as a 10-minute video I watched in its entirety. Nonetheless, that unintended “view” counts a teeny bit. And from time to time, I see the results of that algorithm at play, as a result of I get served comparable content material, a bit extra steadily, although I hold skipping over it.

youtube mobile settings playback in feeds

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

There’s a “resolution” to cease this. It’s a must to manually go into YouTube’s settings and disable video previews altogether. You are able to do this on each the desktop and cellular, and that can cease movies from previewing whenever you hover over or scroll previous them.

To disable YouTube movies from beginning to play whenever you hover over the thumbnail on the net, faucet in your account picture on the highest proper, then Settings > Playback and efficiency > Shopping. Disable Video previews.

To cease YouTube movies from beginning to play every time you scroll previous them in your cellphone, go to the You tab on the underside proper, then faucet the Settings icon on the highest proper > Common > Playback in feeds and set that to Off.

However there are a couple of points with this so-called resolution. For one, it does nothing for Shorts. For 2, the setting tends to mysteriously revert typically, particularly on the desktop, and I don’t discover it till a couple of previews have already slipped by then I rush to disable it once more. And even when the setting remained the entire time, it nonetheless feels convoluted and a bit disingenuous. In any case, it’s Google that calls them “previews,” so why does one thing that occurs — by linguistical definition — earlier than a view rely as an actual view? And why do I’ve to disable all video “previews” to cease these movies from littering my actual watch historical past?

Disabling previews is a workaround, not an actual resolution. Previews and sneak peeks should not rely as views, interval.

As a matter of reality, I form of like the concept of previews. I like with the ability to take a peek right into a video earlier than committing to it. However I’d prefer it to only be that — a peek. A technique to gauge whether or not a video is price my time or not. However for me to make use of that function once more, YouTube must cease punishing me by counting all of these transient glimpses as a part of my watch historical past.

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