Last night my wife called me in from the other room to show me a YouTube video she found hilarious. I think it was cat-related, but honestly don't remember. What I do remember is that the bar at the bottom of the video--where the play button is--wasn't the typical light grey I am used to... instead, it was black. As soon as I noticed that, my poor wife's cat video lost my attention completely. 

I tried to get the new black player to show up on my own laptop, and even my desktop. I tried every browser I own, but couldn't get it to show me anything other than the traditional grey YouTube player. Which means there's some kind of test going on.

A quick Google search revealed this blog post on the Google System Blog that confirmed a test was indeed running. Here's a screenshot of the new black progress bar on the new player:

YouTube Testing New Video Player With Black Progress Bar new youtube player

According to the Google System Blog (which is not an official Google blog), the intent of the new player design is to let the progress bar blend into the background more, so the viewer can focus on the actual video content. Which sounds like a perfectly logical goal to me. Though I have to admit, the first time I noticed the black bar last night, it had the opposite effect--drawing my attention away from the video because of its newness.

Here's a quick video one user took of the bar in action in the wild:

Man, it's kind of hilarious to me that the video talking about the new progress bar and new player skin is currently showing in the old player with the old progress bar.

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Anyway, I'm sure there will be the usual level of user revolt we tend to see whenever a major website tweaks its design, but it should level off pretty quick. After all, this is a fairly small change in the grand scheme of things. It's not as though it's a completely new video player.

One other interesting note: Search Engine Watch says that Google is also testing a new black navigation bar on their site. Black is the new light grey, apparently.

What do you think of the new progress bar design? Do you think it's an improvement over the old one, or an unnecessary change to something that was working just fine?

  • Stopthemaddness

    Garbage, garbage, garbage! Why mess with things when they're perfectly fine? I tried to click back a few seconds because I didn't hear what was said on that spot, and the video started over. If no one demands change then leave it alone!

  • matt

    so how do you tell if your video is buffered if the bar is black and blending in with the background? another stupid unnecessary change. who cares if it looks more sleek or modern? i guess convenience is going out of style as well?

  • James Lßr Skßr Litvak

    Hate it! I can't tell if it is buffering. Super annoying! Dammit why do companies change things that work? Google is turning into Facebook.

  • Mario the Video Guy

    I also like the black bar.

  • Marc Brodeur

    When I play the above Youtube movie, the toolbar at the bottom completely hides itself, like Vimeo. How do I get my videos to do that?

  • Putra Dewa

    i like

  • Max

    The black bar is Awesome, Goes perfectly with my guild site's dark theme and black background. Been trying to work out for ages how to make it dark myself but now I don't have to. I wouldn't watch TV for long if it had an annoying white strip glaring across the bottom of the screen. I can understand some wanting a white bar for their site, maybe they should allow the option choice in the embed options for those who do, but a default black makes sense as a white bar on a dark video is annoying whereas a dark bar on a light video is not.

  • Nicholas Drake West

    it messes up YouTube Downloader :C.

  • Noctis Lucis Caelum

    go black!

  • Dinah Fe C. Joson

    I Don't Like....And Please Change :/

    • Dinah Fe C. Joson

      I Don't Like :/ And Please Change

      I Hate It...


  • Kyle Newman

    I much prefer it. I think it looks more modern a sleek and gives the Google player a more sophisticated look. I just can't wait until they launch it now so it shows on my embedded videos too. Either that or they launch a player with optional colour settings so you can choose how your videos appear on your channel and when you embed them.

  • Dan Sadatian

    the fact that it covers the video when it's up sucks other than that it's pretty fancy!

  • Fang Reaper


  • Nasr Dylan


  • Claudiu Ceia

    Love the new design as well. I actually love it so much that I figured out how to embed the player as well (if you embed using the default code you still see the old theme).

    Check it out:

  • Mad Mann

    Forget how it looks, its the way it works that annoys me. The progress bar keeps sliding down and disappearing automatically, even when the mouse pointer is resting on it. Then you have to click once to make it appear and then again to use a control. Not much fun if you use the controls a lot.

  • Arnoud

    is there a way to keep the new progress bar visible? i'm getting tired of moving the mouse at the bottom of the screen to keep it visible.

  • Trevor Williams

    Looks very sleek and nice. I like it, now they need to change the embedded video player skin the same way.

  • Von Halford

    Looks way better. A lot less clunky looking. Much less noticeable.

  • Heyy Delilah

    I wonder if the 'snake game' still available for the new youtube..

  • Jon Rexhepi

    You should be able to change to the grey traditional bar, I hate the black bar, I want the old one back.

  • Tyler Ryan Carroll

    I think it is an interesting way to start making youtube more a part of Google they NEED that but it is not really any 'better'.

  • Lucy Luu

    I like it. It is refreshing and was a pleasant surprise. And I can see the load time just fine. All in all. I think it wont be a bad change, but only time will tell.

  • Max Rahardjo

    The Google black search bar sucked, got a fix for that...
    This one needs a fix 2, I am more "accustomed" (XD) to the old Light Grey player.

  • Ryan Bennaton

    I don't like it. Its weird.

  • Janice

    I think it's unnecessary. The light grey bar shrinks into a tiny strip when the mouse isn't being dragged over it. That tiny little grey strip doesn't bother anybody; does it matter what color it is, really? Plus, it clashes with the white background of the site. I'm NOT saying color the whole website black, just keep the bar light grey. I'd be nice, though, if viewers had the option of making the bar light grey or black.

  • Christopher Whiting

    It's to match Google's new colour scheme. Notice the top bar (where it says Images, News, Video etc.) on Google is now black too.

  • Alex Vlastaras

    Its disgusting. Doesn't fit at all with the white background of the whole site. Seems out of place. And most importantly its very hard to see how much of the video is loaded. Youtube change this back or believe me you will lose accounts.

    • Aleksander Tatarczyk

      Hahaha really? You really think people will leave the most popular video sharing website because of colors, because it "doesn't fit at all with the white background"? There will be usual moaning for day or two, someone will make a joke about it (the new color kinda asks for it...) which will be overused in comments for weeks, but overall flow of users will probably be the same as usual.

      Can't tell now if it's a good change or not as I haven't seen it in action, but I guess it will work for me as I often watch videos in fullscreen mode. I also don't see how it makes it "very hard" to see loading progress...

    • Alex Vlastaras

      they changed it back to white. your argument is invalid ;)

    • Aleksander Tatarczyk

      really? it's still black for me, you can join "beta" here

    • Jack Mason

      i stopped using google because of the black bar at the top so yea ima sure people will, especially when you take into account that people do not like the direction google been going lately with the gui...

  • Hamza Shamsan

    It's wicked, but ionly used it once = |.

  • Jul

    Oh Jake, how conservative! The old one was buggy and was pretty distracting, even more for people with an add-on that makes the background go black. It wasn't bad before, but it is better now. Also, it gives YT a fresh look.

  • Mathan Raj

    Yes, I like the black bar very much.

    • Mohamed Abuthahir

      s it's luks good..

    • Mathan Raj

      Google testing with black color for both youtube and google navigation.

  • Kevin Horton

    I love it!

  • Jake

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Useless update to an already working progress bar.

  • Andrew

    I like it. It's less distracting than the gray one. I do not like the black navigation bar on Google's site, though. It attracts attention because the rest of the page is white.

  • Creative Media Alliance

    This is awesome! It also gives YouTube a fresh look and feel. It's always a good idea to keep up with new tactics and integrate changes, especially in the world of social media. Creative Media Alliance is excited to see the change!

  • mivanx77

    I like it a lot better. Some things I noticed with the new player was that it's a lot faster. For instance when you took the progress dot and moved it ahead back in forth, you usually had to readjust its position for it to play again. With the new player, you don't have to. Somethings I also noticed was that, its a lot faster. When I mean faster, extremely fast, and its not buggy anymore. My opinion, I like it a lot, and it works for me. Good job YouTube, commending you for this one!

  • Anonymous

    I have the black Youtube player on one PC and the black navigation bar on the other. If I were more interested I'd find out which cookie controlled the preference and post the javascript code online so people could get the new Youtube player without being randomly picked.