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List of features removed from YouTube

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“Removing features is our passion!”

This is an incomplete list of features that YouTube has removed from their website and mobile application.

Anyone is invited to contribute and add anything missing. Feel free to write on the discussion page for suggestions.

Desktop website features[edit]

List of removed YouTube website features
Feature category Feature Introduction date Removal date Description and notes
Annotations Video annotation editor 2008[1] 2017-05-02[2] Ability to add/edit annotations for interactive videos (annotation editor).[3][4]
Ability to view annotations 2008 2019-01-15[5][6] Final removal of annotations
Pause annotation 2008 or 2009 2013 Ability to add automatic pauses inside videos. Removed because it was misused by users.[7]
Collaborative annotations 2009-02[8][9] 2012 or earlier[10] Ability for multiple people to collaboratively work
Comments and ratings AJAX-free comments that pre-loaded within the page 2005 or 2006 2013
/all_comments?v=[11][12] circa 2007 2016-01
Comment search[13] Part of TestTube, circa 2011
Real-time comment stream and counter of new comments circa 2010 circa 2013 Similar to Twitter's “View X new results”
Channel discussion pages (earlier known as “Channel comments”)[14] Circa 2006 Gradually since 2018 Replaced with Community Posts feature instead of co-existing. First applied to channels with ≥10000 subscribers, later

500 and ≥1000. Permanently deletes discussions upon replacement.

Video reactions in comment area
1-5 star ratings[4] 2005 2010
  • Star ratings of 1 and 2 were replaced with dislikes and star ratings of 3, 4 and 5 with likes upon conversion to the new rating system.
  • As of 2020, the Google Play store still utilizes the star rating system.
Sharing AutoShare 2019-01-31 Ability to automatically share liked videos, uploaded videos, added subscriptions (removed earlier) and videos added to playlists to Google Plus (deceased later) and Twitter.
/shared?ci= Details unknown
Channel page Unified channel page 2006 or earlier 2013 Allowed seeing more infirmation at once and thus enabled richer web archival. Removed with 2013 “One channel layout” redesign. Notice the ironic name.
Custom channel theme[15] 2006 2013 Fine-grain custom colour control for many page elements; ability to use custom backgrounds. Removed with 2013 “One channel layout” redesign. Opting out was possible for a limited time.
/feed channel page June 2020 Asummarized list of recent channel activities including publicly liked videos (removed December 2019), public subscriptions, uploaded videos, playlist additions and channel messages.[16]
flow=list URL parameter June 2020

Listed videos and subscriptions of a channel with the beginning of its description.[17]

Awards[4] Badges on the channel page for various statistics-related achievements.
Site layout, appearance and watch page YouTube Feather Lightweight YouTube site. Part of TestTube in the early 2010s decade.
Count of public videos of uploader on watch page 2011 2014
Compatibility website view mode circa 2013 If an older browser was detected, the user was prompted to view a compatible version of the site in a green notice on the right side of the video player.
“Hovercards” mouseover tooltips[18] 2013 2014 or 2015 Similar to Twitter's profile hover cards when hovering the mouse pointer above the display name of a profile.
Top-bar mini player [19] March 2018 March 2018 As known from Dailymotion and Vimeo.
Cosmic Panda site layout[20] July 2011[21] Probably early 2012 Experimental site layout
Statistics Full subscriber counts[22][23][24] Many places such as subscriber counts and like/dislike counts started only showing up as abbreviated number, e.g. “1K” “1M” or “1B” during the years. Since September 2019, only the three leading digits of the subscriber count are visible on YouTube's website and accessible via the API, allegedly for consistency.[25] The change was heavily disliked by VidIQ community.[26]
Public video statistics[15] 2008 https://searchengineland.com/youtube-insight-view-your-youtube-video-statistics-13649 2019
Ability to share list of liked videos[27] Before 2010 2019-12 A playlist with up to 5000 last liked videos could be shared publicly with the community.

The closest workaround after this feature removal is manually creating and maintaining a public playlist of liked videos.

Public views by country[28][15] ~2013
Channel page view counts Still accessible via APi?
Video player Like/Dislike/description and information viewer inside the video player. ~2016 Ability to rate (like/dislike) a video inside the embedded player[29]
Video polls[30][31] 2015 or 2016 June 2020
Search feature inside ActionScript2 flash video player. 2008 ~2013
Warp player circa 2009 circa 2010 Experimental video browser interface
Embedded player with integrated browsing and searching functionality Only in the ActionScript 2 flash video player
Video management Built-in video editor and slide show creator[4] 2017-09[32]
Video effects 2019
Video responses[4] 2013[33]
Subscriptions Subscription groups[34]
Friend list[4] ~2006 2011-12[35]
Ability to hide individual videos on one's own subscription page ? September 2020
Searching Ability to find videos by uploader-specified tags.
Video search results counter June 2018
Playlists Playlist notes Circa 2013 2020 Notes that could be added to videos by playlist creators.

Not available in “polymer” design since introduction, still was accessible in legacy layout as long as it existed, accessible through disable_polymer URL parameter by setting it to “1” or “true”.

Individual video view counts on playlist page[36] 2012 or earlier 2014 or 2015
Ability to see total length of videos in a playlist[36] 2012 or earlier Circa 2013
Ability to rate playlists[36] 2012 or earlier Circa 2013 or 2014
Subtitles Community-contributed subtitles early 2010s September 2020 Creators were able to allow users to directly contribute subtitles, also known as community captions.[37]
Descriptions Video credits 2014 or earlier[38] 2019 Dedicated section for video credits.

Some table cells might be empty due to lack of available information

Additional feature removals[edit]

Additional, lesser noteable removed features and changes:

  • Since August 2018, one can only load 10 comment replies at a time, using “Show more comments”, rather than loading all comment replies at once.
  • Snake game easter egg (only existed in flash-based video player with dotted loading animation icon)
  • Debug information shows exact volume level several digits behind decimal (circa 2010). (Trivial)
  • Bulletin feature (appears to have been removed in 2007, but re-appeared in 2010)[39][40][41]
  • According to a lost YouTube comment, there was once the ability to see the playback position where users rated a video in YouTube analytics.[citation needed]
  • Time markers and magnified seek bar upon hovering for videos longer than 90 minutes
    • Replaced with seek bar that can be dragged up to scrub (finer seeking).

Mobile application features[edit]

  • Infinite search history (now: only 50 items)
  • (Minor) Case-sensitive search history.
  • Ability to enter a search without requiring internet connection (behavioural change)
    • Ability to open a video prior to established internet connection, so that playback can start sooner as soon as the connection has been established. (behavioural change)
  • Tapping on search bar (which opens search history) did not unload the loaded search results or channel/playlist page.
  • Full numbers (now, many places such as subscriber counts and like/dislike counts only show up as abbreviated number, e.g. “1K” “1M” or “1B”)

Predicted feature removals[edit]

This section documents possible future removals of existing features.

  • Automated transcribing and advanced caption tools
    • Possibly to be removed or turned into a feature for premium users only.
  • Comment counter — Shows number of comments posted on a video.

Returned features[edit]

Features that were once removed, but have returned.

  • Ability to see whether a video is private or erased entirely (removed circa 2017 or 2018, returned August 2019)
    • A video in a playlist has always shown the distinction.
  • QuickList (Removed in early 2010s, returned in late 2019) - Temporary, JavaScript-powered watch queue.
  • YouTube XL - YouTube website optimized for television, formerly located at XL.YouTube.com.[note 1]

Also see[edit]

Related navigation boxes: ElectronicsMobile phonesData storageUser experience and user interfaces

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. YouTube blog entry: New Beta Feature: Video Annotations (2008-06-04)
  2. Die Youtube Annotations werden abgeschafft – was das für Creator und Brands bedeutet Von David Peter - 20. März 2017 (German)
  3. YouTube kills annotations to make way for mobile-friendly features – EnGadget – Sean Buckley, @seaniccus (March 16, 2017)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Video: 10 Long Gone YouTube Features – CHM Tech (2017-08-11
  5. YouTube will remove all pop-up annotations on January 15th – EnGadget – Mallory Locklear, @mallorylocklear (November 27, 2018)
  6. Video: YouTube is removing a LOT of features.... by EposVox, 2018-12-04]
  7. Video from channel HotBlogTips that documents the removal of the Pause Annotation, 2013-04-07
  8. YouTube's Collaborative Annotations — Michael Fink, Sigalit Bar, Aviad Bazilai, Nir Kerem, Isaac Elias, Julian Frumar, Herb Ho, Ryan Junee, Simon Ratner, Jasson Schrock Ran Tavory (2009) — Research.Google
  9. Introducing Collaborative Annotations (YouTube blog, 2009-02-20)
  10. Did youtube get rid of collaborative annotations? — Reddit post (2012-07-05)
  11. YCombinator thread: “YouTube removes all_comments feature”, February 7th 2016
  12. “Redirect (HTTP 302) – /all_comments redirects me to /watch (Extraload-Comments)” – Google Productforums thread (short URL
  13. Screenshot of former “Comment search” feature of YouTube
  14. "Engage with creators on Community posts - Computer - YouTube Help". support.google.com.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 YouTube – Article on ArchiveTeam Wiki (significant detail added by user “ATrescue”, later banned by administrator for exerting criticism)
  16. “/feed” channel page (long URL)
  17. Example channel page with “flow=list” URL parameter (long URL)
  18. Video: What Is A YouTube Hover Card? (2013-09-16) — MCJ Book Publishing
  19. Article “YouTube testet Miniplayer: Videos gucken und gleichzeitig Kommentare lesen (Video)” (German) – Google Watch Blog (2018-03-22)
  20. Neues youTube-Design: „Cosmic Panda“ (Test) on TagSEOblog.de, 2011-07-07
  21. Check out Cosmic Panda, a new experimental experience for videos, playlists and channels on YouTube.GoogleBlog.com, 2011-07-07
  22. “YouTube to Limit Access to Full Subscriber Counts” – Carla Marshall, VidIQ.com, 2019-05-21
  23. YouTube Will Kill Exact Public Facing Subscriber Counts in September – Rob Wilson, VidIQ.com, 2019-08-30
  24. “ Early heads up: abbreviated public subscriber counts across YouTube 1 Recommended Answer” – Posted onto Google Product Forums by Jordan (Google employee, TeamYouTube) 2019-05-22
  25. Tweet by @TeamYouTube (2019-05-21) about abbreviated subscriber counts
  26. Tweet by @VidIQ: “Abbreviated Public Subscriber Count (i.e. Showing 4.1k subs instead of 4,123 subs). This is coming to YouTube in August. Vote and tell us why!” – 90.3% out of 3730 voters voted “Bad idea”.
  27. Rant on YouTube making liked videos playlist private. – Steve Shelton (TheWheatisHeat96, 2020-01-14)
  28. "How To View and Analyze YouTube Statistics for Any Video"Tubular Insights (2010-06-20) [https://archive.vn/k6aBS (short URL)
  29. Screen shot of 2015 YouTube channel page with visible rating buttons inside the video player
  30. Why The Poll System Is Being Removed – Support.Google.com
  31. [1]
  32. YouTube Video Editor ist weg – VideoSoftDev
  33. Video Responses Removed - Social Blade YouTube Tips 25 (2013-09-01)
  34. How To Group your YouTube Subscriptions into a Collection – Derral Eves (2013-10-17)
  35. YouTube removed friends today! (2011-12-08)
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Example YouTube playlist from 2012 Archive.Today backup Archive.ST backup
  37. Petition against removal of community captions on Change.org by Emma Wolfe – 159759 signatures oaas of 2020-08-01 20 19:35:22 UTC]
  38. How to Add Video Credits on YouTube Videos — Derral Eves
  39. YouTube Bulletins to your Subscribers (April 15, 2010)
  40. [https://www.adweek.com/digital/youtube-gets-more-social-with-bulletins/ YouTube Gets More Social With Bulletins (April 22, 2010)
  41. YouTube channel “Jeeves476” in 2008
  42. YouTube XL For Television (TV True, January 2009)


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