YouTube automatically detects products in videos and posts related links

As part of one of YouTube’s latest experiments, the video sharing platform wants to expand beyond the “Products in this video” feature, which automatically detects specific items and can generate video links related to anything that appear.

We saw that a first version of this feature was starting to be tested with a very small subset of YouTube users by mid-2020, but it looks like yes expanding even further for those viewing content in the US.

It is unclear how it will look, as the initial release of “Products in this video” turned out to be very small, to the point that there are few or no examples in online action. This initial test seemed to focus on external links to stores that sell detected items in videos, while this experiment seems to be focused on showing you more videos about specific products that the YouTube system can automatically detect. This time, YouTube has given a little more information on how it will appear:

[March 22, 2021] Test automated list of detected products in videos: We are experimenting with a new feature that shows a list of products detected in some videos as well as related products. The feature will appear among the videos recommended for viewers scrolling below the video player. The goal is to help people explore more videos and information about these products on YouTube. This feature will be visible to people watching videos in the US.

Just below the main YouTube player, you’ll find a list of all the product features with related content for each featured item. We assume that this may appear as an advertisement, but with more interactive elements. However, instead of withdrawing from YouTube, you’ll see videos from other channels and creators that have shown things that were automatically detected in the initial video.

Suppose this will work almost like a secondary recommendation tool, complementing the recommended videos section that appears to the right of the main video player. YouTube’s algorithm already does a pretty solid job of automatically detecting the content you’ve been watching and posting related videos, but this is more geared towards the type of content people see as pre-research before making a purchase.

If extended further, the ability to self-detect products in YouTube videos can clear up some of the recommendations for more shady algorithms, as the system isn’t perfect yet. YouTube has not specified exactly on what platforms it will be available, but has stated that “it will be visible to people who watch videos in the United States.”

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