YouTube has faced a lot of community backlash in recent months regarding experiments it runs without proper communication. Now, after comments from CEO Susan Wojcicki, we’re getting early insight on an experiment running now for some iOS users.

Detailed in a video on the Creator Insider channel, YouTube’s latest experiment is the “Explore” tab. This new section of the app focuses on helping users find videos they may not have found on their own, but still offering personalized recommendations.

For those familiar with YouTube’s recommendations on the Home tab, it’s common to find that videos recommended are from channels or topics that the user is constantly viewing. The Explore tab, on the other hand, brings out topics and videos from creators that users may not have ever seen before. It’s still based on your viewing activity, though. Tom Leung, a Director of Product Management at YouTube explains:

Explore is designed to help you be exposed to different topics, videos, and channels that you might not otherwise encounter, but they are still personalized and based on your viewing activity. For example, if you’ve been watching a lot of videos about telescopes, in Explore you might see videos about high-end cameras. It’s going to give you a little more variety.

This new feature is starting to roll out to users today, but only affects 1% of iPhone users. It replaces the “Trending” section for now, but that part of the app is still available with a shortcut on the Explore tab. Leung says that it hopes this new Explore tab will help creators reach more viewers even when the content doesn’t reach the Trending section. Once the experiment has “run its course,” YouTube says it will update the community on what it learned.

9to5Google’s Take

The Explore tab actually seems like a really good idea to me. Lately, I’ve gotten into binging videos just based on what’s recommended, but I’ve found videos just piling up from the same two or three channels there, so the added variety would be nice.

More importantly, though, today’s video and Twitter post are notable as the first time YouTube is really being transparent about its plans to improve the platform. The detailed information is publicly available and not buried in places no one would see. It’s exactly what we were hoping the platform would do as expressed in a piece last month, so kudos YouTube.

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Ben Schoon

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