YouTube is receiving a new appearance as well as some new functionality. On the iOS and Android applications, for example, you’ll be able to pinch to zoom into a video. When you take your fingertips off the screen, the video will remain zoomed in. That seems to be a useful alternative for those looking for Easter eggs in Taylor Swift’s new videos. YouTube began testing the pinch-to-zoom functionality with Premium members in August, and it is now accessible to all users.
Another feature should make it easier to get to the proper section of a video. On desktop and mobile, you’ll be able to see a row of thumbnails by dragging your mouse up or swiping up when scrolling through a video (a bit like you might see on Netflix). As YouTube says, this should prevent you from rewinding too far back when viewing a lesson and rewatching a step.
On the aesthetic front, there’s a new ambient mode that changes the app’s backdrop color to match the video. In a blog post, YouTube UX director Nate Koechley defines this as a subtle effect that uses dynamic color sampling to lure viewers’ attention into videos and place greater emphasis on the content.
The ambient mode will be accessible on video playlists as well. When you activate the dark theme, you’ll see ambient mode on online and mobile watch sites. On that topic, dark mode on the web, mobile, and smart TVs will soon seem even darker.
In addition, YouTube links in video descriptions will now appear as buttons. To “minimize distractions,” the service has redesigned popular activities such as liking, sharing, and downloading. Furthermore, the subscribe button will be redesigned as a pill-shaped button rather than a rectangular one. Although the button will no longer be red, YouTube claims that the high-contrast revamp will make it more visible on watch sites and channel pages.
These modifications are being implemented by YouTube today. They should be available to everyone in the next weeks.