Google sometimes experiments with new features in beta versions of its various Android applications on Google Play. However, the recently spotted YouTube beta program will not, unfortunately, be a testbed for upcoming additions to the video-sharing service. Instead, Google says it only plans to test the stability of the YouTube app at this time, not features.
The company quietly rolled out a YouTube beta program last week on Google Play, where it was soon spotted by the folks at Android Police.
Originally, the belief was that Google would use this new beta to try out features it was planning to bring to the YouTube app — in fact, that’s what Google’s own help documentation about the beta said!
Not only that, but the documentation urged testers not to share information about the features they see in the app until they’re publicly launched.
That all sounds pretty exciting, right? (At least for us early adopters who love to get to mess around with the latest new thing before anyone else.)
But after asking Google for more information on the program, the company updated its help documentation to remove the wording about “experimental features.” It now says testers will only help YouTube to stabilize its app.
We also understand, too, that YouTube has always run a beta program; the only change is that, as of last week, it become more broadly accessible.
Users can now join the program to help YouTube test stability of the app and can then opt out at any time they choose. At this point, however, Google doesn’t plan on trying out new features in the beta build. That could, of course, change at any time in the future. So if you really want to be the first to know, you may want to join the beta program just in case.
But YouTube for a long time now has been testing its new additions by way of server-side testing. It even decided this year to be more public about those tests — disclosing its experiments by way of its @TeamYouTube handle and the Creator Insider channel.
For example, this is where the company first announced its test of a new Explore tab on iPhone a few months ago, and more recently said it would try different ways of inserting ads into videos, to see if users prefer fewer interruptions even if it meant multiple ads per interruption.
YouTube beta program members may or may not be opted into those same experiments, as they roll out. It will depend on if they’re in the testing bucket that’s targeted at that time.