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YouTube ‘Explore’ tab aims to jazz up video recommendations

Ever wish your YouTube recommendations were just a little bit better at surfacing new content you actually want to watch, or perhaps more adept at introducing creators with great channels that you’d never heard of before?

With just that in mind, the world’s most popular video-streaming site last year started testing out an Instagram-like Explore tab with a very limited number of smartphone users.

In a video posted recently on YouTube’s Creator Insider channel, YouTube product manager David Sharon described the Explore tab as the place to go when you want to discover new videos, topics, and creators.

Happy with the progress it’s been making with the Explore tab, the company is now in the process expanding the trial to more users on more devices as it moves toward releasing the feature for the entire YouTube community.

YouTube’s Explore tab replaces the Trending tab at the bottom of the display on the mobile app (see image), though when you tap on it to bring up the new screen, you’ll notice a few similarities with the old Trending page.

For example, the single-icon topics are still there, lined up across the top, but they’ve been tweaked to include some additional subjects such as “originals” and “on the rise,” the latter of which takes you to new channels that are beginning to gain traction on YouTube. Trending also gets its own icon along the top, so you still have a quick way to find out what’s hot on the streaming site.

Below the row of icons you’ll find larger, photo-based icons linked to videos based on stuff you’ve watched before. Below that, you’ll see larger screen grabs of algorithm-generated content, which you can scroll through until you find something that takes your fancy.

An Explore tab that really delivers the goods would certainly be welcomed by YouTube fans keen to find engaging content that’s a little different from what they’re used to, while for YouTube it should mean more video views, more clicks, and, ultimately, more ad revenue.

In other YouTube-related news this week, it emerged that developers at the streaming site are looking at a number of ways to rework the downvote button in a bid to prevent so-called “mob spamming,” a practice that can adversely and unfairly affect a creator’s exposure on the site.

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