Google plans to hide experimental YouTube features it’s working on behind a Premium paywall.
As spotted by Android Central, YouTube experiments will now be available to YouTube Premium subscribers instead of a randomly selected group of people. A new message on YouTube says that “Premium members can try out new features that we’re working on” for a limited time.
Further, the blurb encourages subscribers to provide feedback to help “build a better YouTube.”
Android Central notes that non-Premium users will no longer be able to join experiments. For those unfamiliar with how YouTube — and really, Google as a whole — operates, both often test new, experimental features by enabling them for select groups of people.
YouTube has previously done this with things like the Explore tab, the new mobile comments section and video chapters. After testing with smaller groups, YouTube rolled out those features to more people. Google likewise does testing like this with a variety of Android apps, like Messages, the Google app and more.
It remains unclear why Google decided to restrict experiments to just Premium YouTube users. Maybe Google hopes that paying users are more dedicated to the platform and more likely to offer feedback. Android Central also suggests that exclusive access to new features is just another incentive to get people to join Premium.
Those curious about what experiments they’re missing out on by not joining YouTube Premium can check out the list here.