Thumbnail previews for videos now available on YouTube

Virginia Carter
July 15, 2017

Users can now have a 3-second preview of the video content by simply hovering the mouse pointer over a video.

The feature has been in testing since January, so you may have seen it before, but it's now rolling out to all users. For now, video creators are not able to choose what preview is shown, which seems like a loss of creative control, seeing as they can customize their still image thumbnails.

Through my very scientific analysis (I hovered over about a dozen thumbnails to see how they reacted), some videos are equipped with moving previews while others or not. Doing so would save time as well as the data spent watching something that they weren't looking for.

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YouTube says you'll need Chrome 32 and up or Opera v.19 and up to see the new previews which will appear on the home page, in search results and within the watch page, subscriptions tab and the trending tab. So if you're using Safari, Edge, or Firefox, you're out of luck. If you roll your cursor over a thumbnail in your web browser, that picture should cut to a three-second loop that previews the video you're about to click on. This feature automatically picks up three frames from the video and shows you the frames like a gif.

This last bit will help ensure that users are not mislead by creators who often put thumbnails that mispresent the content of the video.

The lack of thumbnail previews made it hard to gauge the content of the video without clicking it, even though this technology has been available on some video sites for years now.

Other reports by BadHub

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