Google-owned video streaming giant YouTube is testing an automated list of products detected in videos uploaded to the site, which will allow the video platform to detect products within videos, according to a report in The Verge. A YouTube spokesperson, in a blog post from October 2019, detailed the feature, saying that the company is experimenting a new feature that displays a list of products detected in some videos, as well as related products. “The feature will appear in between the recommended videos, to viewers scrolling below the video player. The goal is to help people explore more videos and information about those products on YouTube,” the blog post said. According to a 9to5Google report, an early version of the feature was tested midway through last year, but that test was very small, the report said. YouTube said that the test is now being expanded to people watching videos in the US.
Reports suggest that this could be Google’s move to have its own affiliate link market, while also trying to sell products directly via videos. These lists could function as a second recommendation algorithm, with YouTube suggesting users videos that feature similar products. For example, if a user is watching an iPhone review, YouTube may start suggesting review videos of other Apple products like AirPods, HomePod smart speaker, and more. The ability to sell products directly via videos will also put YouTube in the shopping space like other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.