Timestamps are rather helpful tool on YouTube when it comes to longer format videos, with roundtable discussions, speeches and visual versions of podcasts all benefiting from the feature.
For creators though, placing timestamps can prove a lengthly process in itself, especially for videos longer than 10 minutes that have required a fair bit of editing already.
It is why YouTube is currently testing out a new feature that leverages artificial intelligence to place the timestamps in videos.
“We’re testing out an easier way to add a video timestamp tied to the exact moment you’re watching when commenting on a video. People in the experiment will see a new icon as they’re writing a comment that they can tap to automatically add the current time of the video (without having to manually enter it themselves!). This is only available to a small group of users for now,” explained YouTube in an updated blog post on its Support site.
AI-assisted adding of chapters are also being looked at, with the intention of making navigation in videos easier for users.
“We’ll use machine learning to recognize text in order to auto generate video chapters. We’re testing this out with a small group of videos. If your videos are impacted, you can opt out of this experiment and/or share feedback,” adds YouTube.
Whether these AI features will make into the fully fledged version of YouTube for all creators, remains to be seen, but it is an interesting addition.
It will also be intriguing to see how accurate the machine learning system is at placing chapters and timestamps, especially as AI tools on the platform have proved a little hit or miss.
Another element is how this will impact watch time, and whether viewers will simply skip to different sections more frequently.
Either way it’s a feature that we’ll be keeping an eye on.