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YouTube Tests New Generative AI Elements, Including its Own In-Stream Chatbot

YouTube’s taking its next steps into generative AI, with a new test of topic summaries for comments, providing an alternative means to engage with viewers on different subjects, as well as its own conversational AI tool, which will enable you to ask questions about the videos that you watch.

First off, on comment summaries, in order to drive the conversation around each clip, and help creators glean more context into viewer interests, YouTube’s new AI comment summaries will create sub-discussions within the comment stream, enabling creators to see what people are saying about specific elements.

YouTube comment summaries

As you can see in this example, for those in the experiment, when you tap through on the “Comments” section, you’ll also be able to tap on “Topics”, which will then display a selection of topic areas, dependent on the clip.

As per YouTube:

“Creators can use these comment summaries to more quickly jump into comment discussions on their videos, or to draw inspiration for new content based on what their audiences are discussing. If creators want to remove any comment topics, they can delete individual comments that show up under the specific topic.”

It could be an interesting way to help both creators and viewers engage with clips. 

YouTube says that the experiment is currently running “on a small number of videos in English that have large comment sections”. YouTube Premium members will be able to opt-in to this test via youtube.com/new.

YouTube’s conversational AI tool, meanwhile, will enable viewers to ask questions about a video, with a view to digging deeper into certain topics.

YouTube chatbot

As you can see in this example, YouTube’s new “Ask” option will provide suggestions on questions that you may be interested in, based on each clip, while you’ll also be able to enter your own prompts to explore certain topics.

It could be a good way to help guide discovery behaviors in the app, as viewers dig into a specific topic, though given YouTube has been known to drive people down internet rabbit holes, it could also prove problematic in some respects.

YouTube does additionally note that these features are experimental, and as such, are still in development, essentially covering itself for potential issues like this. But it’ll be interesting to see how users view this new chat element, and how it influences discovery in the app.

YouTube says that the new “Ask” option is currently available to a small number of people on a subset of videos, but in the coming weeks, YouTube Premium members in the U.S. on Android devices will be able to join the experiment.

Like all social platforms, YouTube’s working to understand how generative AI can improve the user experience, and help drive more interest in its various elements. YouTube’s also experimenting with generative AI backgrounds for clips, as well as idea generator prompts to help guide creation.

None of these seem like “must-have” enhancements as yet, but slowly, these will become more relied-upon tools that will then help YouTube integrate AI in new ways.  

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