Hand holding a smartphone with YouTube's logo displaying on the screen
YouTube's Explorer tab could bring more traffic to smaller YouTube channels

YouTube is trying out a feature for mobile users called Explore. The new feature will still recommend videos based on the watcher’s taste, but with a “broader scope.”

The Explore feature will be visible to a very small 1 percent of iOS users in the form of a tab near the bottom of the YouTube app’s home screen, according to Tom Leung. Leung is YouTube’s director of product management and is the host of Creator Insider on YouTube.

Leung goes on to claim that YouTube’s algorithm will still be recommending videos related to your previous searches. However, the Explore feature should provide a “broader scope” of videos than what mobile users are currently getting. “Explore is designed to help you be exposed to different kinds of topics, videos, or channels that you might not otherwise encounter,” Leung said, “but they’re still personalized — so they’re still based on your viewing activity.”

“ … if you’ve been watching a lot of videos about telescopes … in Explore you may see stuff about high-end cameras,” Leung continues.

YouTube has been fighting back against misleading videos, like ones that promote conspiracy theories, so it’s possible that Explore could recommend videos offering a counterpoint perspective. But on the other hand, the feature is based around users’ personal viewing habits, so perhaps the Explore Tab won’t be playing devil’s advocate.

Explore could help small YouTubers grow their audiences

But it’s not only about viewers getting a wider variety of videos to watch. Creators could see a boost in their audience pool because of the broader range of videos being recommended.

“Viewers are going to be exposed to creators … who maybe they wouldn’t have if they didn’t have this Explore Tab,” says Leung. “It could help creators grow their audience, access new potential viewers and also helps viewers get a little bit more variety and see a different kind of content.”

When is the Explorer tab coming?

There is no information about when the experiment is going to start or when it’s going to conclude. But, Leung did say we could expect updates about popular projects “in future videos” on the Creator Insider channel.

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