If you’ve used YouTube in the past several months, you may have noticed the thumbnails of some videos appear like GIFs. Now, that 3-second preview feature is available to all YouTube users.
It’s important to note that these previews only show up on Chrome versions 32 (and up) and Opera version 19 (and up). Mobile versions of YouTube are not supported.
According to YouTube, the site uses AI to determine the “best” part of the video to preview, so video creators don’t have any input in what is shown. Meanwhile, still images can be customized and placed as a thumbnail.
Previews are available for most videos that are longer than 30 seconds. Videos are deemed eligible using several criteria, including video topic and content. YouTube says that videos that don’t receive a preview within two days are not currently eligible at this time.