YouTube, like many Google products, constantly tests out new features on users. While not all the tested features see a full release, keeping an eye on them is a good way to see what Google is working on.
A new test in YouTube looks to expand the app’s search capabilities to bring in non-video results.
Spotted by some users on Reddit, YouTube for Android now displays Google search results alongside video results. However, this feature isn’t entirely new. For some time, YouTube has displayed information in its search results. For example, if users look up something like COVID-19, YouTube surfaces a Google-powered information panel with details and links to reputable health authorities. Further, searching a channel name will show results with a special view for videos from that channel.
This new search feature, however, mixes links to websites among videos. In a screenshot posted by a Reddit user, a search for ‘open beer with knife’ pulled up a few videos followed with a ‘Result from the web.’ The web result links to a Lifehacker story about opening a beer with a butter knife.
9to5Google reports that the tested changed to search is not widespread. It appears to be another A/B test from Google. As such, if you’re not a fan of Google search invading your YouTube results, don’t worry just yet; there’s a good chance the feature won’t progress past this point.
So far, the general sentiment seems to be mostly negative. While having random web searches included amongst videos may be annoying, I can also see why it would be helpful. For example, it could supplement searches where there aren’t a lot of video results. It could also help spread factual information in searches that bring up misinformation.