YouTube is a global behemoth of video sharing with billions of users watching and uploading content every day. It’s also a master of personalized recommendations, using your watch history to suggest videos you’re likely to enjoy. But what if you prefer to keep your watch history private, or you don’t want to be influenced by YouTube’s suggestions? For these users, YouTube has announced a new change that will affect how their home feed looks.
According to a blog post by Google, “Starting today, if you have YouTube watch history off and have no significant prior watch history, features that require watch history to provide video recommendations will be disabled — like your YouTube home feed”. This means that your home feed will no longer show thumbnails or links to videos you might want to watch. Instead, you will only see the search bar and the left-hand guide menu, but no more recommended videos. This makes it easier to search, browse subscribed channels, and explore topic tabs instead.
Google says this change is intended to make it clearer which YouTube features rely on watch history to provide video recommendations and make it more streamlined for those who prefer to search rather than browse recommendations. However, some users may find this change inconvenient or annoying, as they lose access to one of YouTube’s most important features that helps them discover new content and creators.
If you want to switch your watch history back on, you can do so at any time on the My Google Activity settings page. Turning on your Watch History will allow you to again see personalized recommendations in your home feed and access other features that depend on your Watch History, such as your Watch Later list and your liked videos. However, you should also be aware that by turning on your watch history, you allow Google to collect your data and use it for various purposes, such as improving its services, showing you relevant ads, and influencing its algorithms.
YouTube’s new change is part of a larger trend of tech companies giving users more control over their privacy and data settings. However, it also raises questions about how much users value convenience over privacy and how much they trust tech companies with their personal data. What do you think of this change? Would you prefer to have your watch history on or off?
It will be interesting to see how users react to this change and how it affects the way they use YouTube. It’s also worth noting that this is just one of several changes YouTube has made to its privacy and data settings in recent months. As tech companies continue to grapple with the privacy issue, it’s likely we will see more changes like this in the future.