After much long, YouTube has finally added support for Thumbnail previews. The previews essentially work by by selecting random frames from the video and playing them back in a gif like manner and are automatically triggered by a mouse hover on the video thumbnail. The previews will be short 3-second clips that will be picked up randomly from frames constituting the first half of the video.
While some may argue that the previews give the video away robbing creators of some potential clicks, the feature is likely to come across as a huge relief to anyone who has been tricked into playing a video by a clickbait thumbnail. Since YouTube allowed users to upload an image to serve as a thumbnail for the video, many creators have abused the feature by uploading clickbait and often unrelated images as thumbnails enticing users to click on the video. This change should at least cut back on some of that and is certainly a welcome feature in that respect.
The preview works only on the new updated YouTube website (which might have been one of the requirements for the preview to work) and is currently supported on Chrome version 32 and above as well as Opera version 19 and above. The feature is currently available to a small section of the audience which means it’s gradually rolling out to users worldwide. For those who are unable to see it and want to, you’ll have to update to using YouTube’s newly designed site by clicking on the link here first. If you’re still unable to see it, have patience and it will become available to you in the next few days.
YouTube recently announced it has 1.5 billion monthly active users with the users spending about an hour a day watching YouTube on different devices, some rather impressive numbers. It also launched VR180 which is in essence half VR at the recently held Google I/O and has been aggressively pushing YouTube Red to compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.