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YouTube wants you to add 'notes' to videos to give more context

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YouTube announced it's working on a crowd-sourcing feature that lets you add notes in its videos to provide context and information about it. Notes will display at the bottom of the videos when YouTube thinks they're "broadly helpful" after analyzing user-submitted ratings.

Among various reasons, you can add notes to a video to "clarify when a song is meant to be a parody, point out when a new version of a product being reviewed is available, or let viewers know when older footage is mistakenly portrayed as a current event," YouTube said.

A pilot that involves writing and viewing notes will start with US-based mobile users whose language is set to English. YouTube will pick from a limited number of eligible users, inviting them to get onboard through email or Creator Studio notification.

YouTube community-sourced notes on videos

YouTube explained in a blog post that it will use a "bridging-based algorithm" to figure out if a note is worth publishing:

A bridging-based algorithm helps identify notes that are helpful to a broad audience across perspectives. If many people who have rated notes differently in the past now rate the same note as helpful, then our system is more likely to show that note under a video. These systems will continuously improve as more notes are written and rated across a broad range of topics.

YouTube will ask users whether a note is “helpful,” “somewhat helpful,” or “unhelpful,” and consider factors like whether the note cites high-quality sources or is written in a neutral tone. Viewers in the US will start seeing notes on videos in the coming weeks and months.

To be able to write YouTube Notes, one needs to have a YouTube channel that is more than six months old with no community guideline strikes in the past twelve months. While the feature will require users to rate video notes in the long run, third-party evaluators will rate the helpfulness of notes during the pilot program and help train YouTube's systems.

The feature builds on YouTube's previous efforts to add more context to videos and combat misinformation. For instance, it shows information panels above search results and requires labels for realistic AI-generated content.

The video hosting platform is also experimenting with several other features, including channel QR codes, desktop redesign, green screen backgrounds, Jump Ahead, and the Dream Track feature that creates 30-second audio clips in the voice of popular celebrities.

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