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YouTube to Test New ‘Explore’ Feature in iOS App With Expanded Video Recommendations

YouTube will kick the tires on a new way to try to get users to watch more videos: It’s about to launch the test of a new “Explore” tab for its iOS app, which YouTube says will show videos, topics and channels users probably wouldn’t ordinarily see.

The test will affect 1% of YouTube’s iOS app viewers, according to the video platform. YouTube plans to run the experiment over the next few weeks.

For users in the trial, at the bottom of the iOS app screen, instead of the “Trending” tab there will be an “Explore” tab (with all of the content that’s currently in Trending moving into a section of Explore).

The different recommendations in the “Explore” tab on iOS will be personalized, based on an individual user’s viewing activity. But unlike the current way YouTube suggests content, the videos and channels in Explore will be stuff “you might not otherwise see,” according to a post by YouTube on the service’s help forum.

“With more videos coming to YouTube every minute we’re always experimenting with ways to make it easier for people to find, watch and share the videos that matter most to them,” YouTube said in announcing the test.

YouTube says it’s interested in feedback on the experiment — and it’s surely going to get an earful. Some of the changes it has made to the platform, and even some tests of new features, haven’t gone over well with its large community of creators. For example, a small test YouTube ran earlier this year that let users opt to sort subscription feeds in non-chronological order prompted a broad outcry from YouTubers concerned it would hurt their video views.

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