YouTube’s homepage will now look very different if you have your watch history turned off. Instead of surfacing a page full of suggested videos, you’ll mostly see nothing.
The change is all part of a “new viewer experience” Google announced on Tuesday. If you’ve switched your YouTube watch history to off and “have no significant prior watch history,” you won’t see features that need a watch history to provide recommendations.
That means you’ll only see the search bar on the homepage, along with the Shorts, Subscriptions, and Library buttons. This could come as a welcome change for people who hate sifting through increasingly extreme thumbnails to find the play button, but it could also be a way to annoy users into turning the history back on.
Image: YouTube / Alexander L
Google says it’s going to roll out this feature “over the next few months,” but several users across the web are already seeing the change. In place of YouTube’s recommended videos is a notice that reads, “Your watch history is off. You can change your setting at any time to get the latest videos tailored to you.”
“We are launching this new experience to make it more clear which YouTube features rely on watch history to provide video recommendations and make it more streamlined for those of you who prefer to search rather than browse recommendations,” Google writes. It’s unclear how widely this has rolled out yet. Several of us here at The Verge tried turning our YouTube watch history off and erasing the videos in our watch history, but we still saw personalized recommendations popping up in our home feeds.