YouTube is always running experiments. One of its latest: testing an automated list of products detected in videos uploaded to the site. As of March 22nd this year, that test is being expanded to “people watching videos in the US,” according to YouTube. (An early version of the feature was tested midway through last year, though that test was very small, reports 9to5Google.)
In one of its blogs, a YouTube representative gave a little more detail about how this particular feature will be deployed:
We are experimenting with a new feature that displays a list of products detected in some videos, as well as related products. The feature will appear in between the recommended videos, to viewers scrolling below the video player. The goal is to help people explore more videos and information about those products on YouTube.
Presumably, it’s a move intended to give Google its own piece of the incredibly lucrative affiliate link market, while also tying commerce directly to video uploads. These lists could function as a second recommendation algorithm, with YouTube serving videos that feature similar products. It would also put YouTube in the same shopping space as other social platforms (like Instagram). Who knows! As with most experiments, it’s a little up in the air — at least until the results come in.