Vertical video has usually been the target of mockery for a lot of people, but Instagram decided to completely embrace it with the launch of IGTV, and now YouTube also seems to want to provide a better way for users to enjoy content recorded in vertical mode.
Last Friday, Google started rolling out an update to the desktop version of YouTube's website, which improves the viewing experience for videos that don't use the 16:9 aspect ratio. Benefiting from this are vertical videos or older 4:3 ones, which will now display in a frame with the same ratio not a 16:9 frame with black bars
In theory, this should make the content easier to enjoy while reducing the screen real estate wasted with blank content. However, users on the help forums have been very displeased with the changes, which the company seemingly announced in response to negative feedback. Complaints range from poorer video quality to users reporting they're unable to watch certain videos in full screen, with some users also reporting chopped off video.
Even though some can be simply chalked up to problems in the initial implementation, this wouldn't be the first time YouTube makes some controversial design changes to its website. It remains to be seen when and if the complaints will be addressed. For those who don't like the new design, using a browser other than Chrome might help; the reworked player seems to be rolling out only to users of Google's own browser for now.