YouTube Adds 'Jump Ahead' to Best Moments

John Lister's picture

YouTube may soon automatically figure out the "best parts" of a video and let users jump straight to them. It could aid viewers but might not be great news for people who make videos for in return for compensation (whether it's an embedded paid sponsorship or Google Ads).

The company is testing out the technology in what it is calling "a very small experiment in the US". It suggests the feature will, at least at first, be exclusive to subscribers of YouTube Premium.

The feature, known as Jump Ahead, appears to be in testing in both the mobile app and connected TV app versions of YouTube. With Android and iOS, the test has it as an extra option for the existing function of a double-tap to jump forward 10 seconds. (Source:

With the TV app version, the key moments appear as dots on the progress bar with an option to move between them using a remote control.

Chapter-Like Marks

It appears the feature is designed as a way to recreate the effect when video creators manually insert chapter marks. These are also available on the website version of YouTube, accessible through both the playback controls and timestamps in the description. There are some reports this has been replicated in testing of the new feature.

The automatically created key moments are created through a combination of artificial intelligence that analyses the content of videos, and viewing data from people who have already watched the video in question. What isn't clear is whether the choice of key moments is fixed or is in any way customized for the specific viewer.

Previous experiments with the feature have included a graph that shows which parts of a video were most replayed. That brought some insight but didn't cover cases where people watched some parts of a video but not others. It also did not take any account of if and when people stopped watching a clip. (Source:

Ad Revenue Could Fall

Perhaps surprisingly, there's no mention of the key moment "algorithm" taking any notice of whether people arrive at the video through a link that's customized to start playing at a specific point. That would seem a useful indication of more important content.

Viewers may be relieved it could be easier to see the best parts without having to watch lengthy videos in full. However, if that means they watch less of a video, they'll likely see fewer ads before or during that particular video. That could mean a reduction in revenue for video creators.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you usually watch YouTube videos in full? Would you find it helpful to access "key moments"? What factors should affect the selection of such moments?

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