YouTube’s AI chatbot wants to answer questions about the video you’re watching

Have you ever watched a YouTube video and wondered, “What the heck am I watching?”

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If so, YouTube wants to help explain things to you. In a blog post, the company announced that it is now experimenting with generative AI features inside of the YouTube app itself. Google is already deep in generative AI with Google Bard and its conversational AI features across its consumer and business products, but this is the first time we’ve seen such a feature make its way into YouTube.

The company is rolling out a new AI chatbot into the YouTube app that will be available for users to “get answers to questions about the video you’re watching, recommendations for related content, and more, all without interrupting playback.”

To help you dive deeper into the content you’re watching, we’re experimenting with a conversational AI tool. This tool lets you get answers to questions about the video you’re watching, recommendations for related content, and more, all without interrupting playback. For certain academic videos, the tool can aid learning journeys by providing quizzes and responses that encourage deeper understanding. If you’re a part of the experiment, you can access the tool by tapping Ask beneath select videos and begin by asking questions about the video or choosing a suggested prompt.

YouTube is also rolling out a feature that will use artificial intelligence to group the comment section under what the company is calling “topics.” The company says that users will be able to check out specific topics and engage in conversation with existing comments that fall under those topics, rather than the comment section being an unorganized fray.

Creators can use these comment summaries to more quickly jump into comment discussions on their videos, or to draw inspiration for new content based on what their audiences are discussing. If creators want to remove any comment topics, they can delete individual comments that show up under the specific topic. Also, topics are pulled from published comments only and cannot be created from comments that are held for review, contain blocked words or are from blocked users. This experiment is running on a small number of videos in English that have large comment sections.

The company says that it is starting to roll out both of these features starting today, but only certain users will gain access to them. While YouTube Premium users can sign up to try the new Topics feature starting today, the AI chatbot won’t be accessible to those users right away. The company says that it will be available “in the coming weeks” and be limited to Android users in the United States first.

It is really interesting to see YouTube figure out how to bring its AI tools into YouTube itself. While this first round of experimental features are more user-focused than creator-focused, I am especially interested to see what kinds of AI tools the company brings to creators on the platform. This AI chatbot could also represent a tricky problem for creators. If people get their answers to your video from the chatbot, do they need to click on your other videos you made addressing their questions?

We’ll have to see how the YouTube community — both its creators and audience — react to this latest shift into generative AI.


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