The State of YouTube

YouTube’s issues and challenges for the new CEO

Christian Behler

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An image of a smartphone showing the YouTube logo on its screen.
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

I love YouTube and spend way too much time watching it every day.

However, especially after some recent updates, I have noticed more and more issues slowly creeping up.

With the long-term CEO Susan Wojcicki stepping down and Neal Mohan taking over, I wanted to address some of the issues and challenges of YouTube.

Algorithm

In the last few months, the YouTube algorithm has become more and more insane, especially when it comes to auto-playing the next video. I can deal with some crazy recommendations on the home screen and every once in a while, I might actually want to watch one of them, but the auto-playing videos are a big issue for me.

A lot of content on YouTube is episodic and most episodes are numbered. When I click on episode 42, I expect the next video to be episode 43. In the past, this has always worked, but now the algorithm is all over the place. It randomly plays a completely unrelated video from a different channel or it just skips an episode. When you are sitting at your computer, this is a minor inconvenience, but when you are watching on the couch or in bed, it’s extremely annoying when you have to get up and change the video. I resorted to manually queueing up the videos beforehand, which is also inconvenient, especially with the hidden add-to-queue button.

Issues with the new design

A few weeks ago, YouTube has changed the design of the home page and it came with a bunch of issues. The autoplay-on-hover is broken and some videos randomly keep playing when you move away your mouse. Also, how are the views counted when you hover over a video for a few seconds on the home screen? Is it a view with very low watch time or is it not counted at all?

There also seems to be a weird interaction with the event handlers because sometimes videos do not open when you click on them and you have to try multiple times until they do.

The home page has also become very resource intensive recently, maybe because of the not-stopping hovered videos. It’s not noticeably slow, but after scrolling down for a bit, the fans of my laptop turn on and Chrome goes to 25%…

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Christian Behler

M. Sc. Computer Science and Physics, Indie Game/Software/Web Developer, Writer, 3D Artist, and too many other interests. https://pingpoli.medium.com/membership