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I watch YouTube videos in two distinct ways: If it’s a song I like or creator I enjoy, I’ll watch the whole thing; but if I was searching for a tutorial or more info about a topic, I usually just fast-forward or skip through it to get to the parts that matter. Google is now preparing a cool improvement to help is with that second kind of situation: video chapters.
Chapters are starting to show up for some YouTube viewers on some channels. They’re generated based on the timestamps that creators include in their video’s description, where they specify, for example, that you’ll find an intro at 0:00, a review at 1:32, a pros and cons list at 6:54, and a conclusion at 9:10. Sadly, not all creators bother with timestamps, and if they’re not included in the description, YouTube will not try to guess or insert chapter markers on its own (at least for now).
For us, users, the UI looks slightly different in the video player. The scrubbing timeline is divided into sections for each chapter, and hovering over one reveals the chapter’s title (again, taken from the description) and your progress through that particular section. I couldn’t get these to show up on any video on mobile or desktop, so I may not be part of the initial rollout, but @podcastage noticed them earlier today and they seem to be working on one of his videos with timestamps. Try that out and see it works for you.
One of our readers has shared a screenshot showing how these video chapters appear on mobile. He’s running a slightly older v15.14.33 of the app (APK Mirror) and only sees it on one of his accounts. So the change seems to be controlled server-side, by account. Thanks, João!
Video chapters in YouTube on mobile.
YouTube has officially announced video chapters on Twitter, explaining that the feature is rolling out to the desktop, Android, and iOS. They will only appear when creators add timestamp data to their description starting with position 00:00. Timestamp collections that don’t start there will not be converted into chapters automatically, allowing YouTubers to opt out of the feature.
New today – Creator timestamps from their video description now automatically turn into Video Chapters in the progress bar!
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) May 28, 2020