YouTube tests SoundCloud-style comments linking to specific times

The other day I watched a YouTube video of a man throwing a grenade into an ATM, “for science.” It’s the kind of mindless fluff that’s perfect for YouTube, but it did have quite a lot of buildup when all I wanted to see was a grey box go boom. A new feature might help you find the good part of any video, if you can stomach reading the comments section.

Today Google added notice of a new timed comment system that’s currently in the testing process on Android and iOS. Commenters will be able to link their comments to a specific section of the video, allowing you to click and instantly load it up. Unfortunately, it looks like the group Google is testing with is very small indeed: no one on the AP team has managed to try it out. (The image above is a mockup.)

If you’re lucky enough to get the chance to try it out, you’ll find it in the Sort button in the comments section, here:

Timed comments are similar to the replayed chat section on YouTube Live videos when played back as video on demand, a more complex version of a simple timestamp. SoundCloud also has a similar feature, showing small tick marks on the scrobble bar to indicate where commenters tied their comments to a specific part of a song.

Timed comments in SoundCloud’s interface

Whether this will make it to more mobile users, or YouTube on the web, we couldn’t say: it’s kind of a toss-up which of these features YouTube keeps and which it throws away.


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