YouTube labels

YouTube’s feature set is ever evolving, but one of the more popular options for a long time was that of video annotations. These were a staple for many creators especially in the early days of YouTube. However, this week it’s been revealed that YouTube video annotations are being deleted early next year.

This change shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise. Back in May of 2017, YouTube removed the annotations editor from the service. This removed the ability to create new annotations or edit existing ones. However, YouTube video annotations that had already been created were allowed to stay in place on videos.

Now, YouTube has confirmed that existing video annotations will no longer appear starting on January 15th, 2019. Of course, this won’t affect newer videos. Not only can users not create annotations at this point in time, but even when the feature was disabled, usage had decreased by over 70%. Further, the majority of watch time on YouTube is spent on mobile devices where annotations don’t even work.

It feels needless to say, but the death of YouTube video annotations feels like a good thing. It cleans up the viewing experience on desktop and removes the last feature that was exclusive to the desktop version of YouTube as well.

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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