Those mad tinkerers over at YouTube keep tinkering away, although the new features recently announced are actually pretty useful.  The YouTube Blog announced some changes to their player that will be in effect in the next few weeks that give users the ability to look ahead in a video to find the part that they want to see, or give them a preview of what is to come, or find a spot where the video was previously stopped.  By running your cursor over the timeline, a thumbnail is generated to show what you're about to see.  For long videos, you can even scrub the timeline to get a series of thumbnails.  Sweet!

YouTube's New Look Ahead Features

The most basic one will be that you will be able to place your cursor anywhere on the timeline and see a thumbnail of that part of the video, as seen here:

YouTube Introduces Handy Look Ahead Features To Player youtubescrub 606x374

But there are even more dynamic look ahead features, and they can be seen right now on the free crowdsourced movie Life in a Day.  One feature allows you to place your cursor over the timeline, and a bar representing 90 seconds pops up over the timeline.  You can navigate that entire bar for thumbnails.  Take a look:

YouTube Introduces Handy Look Ahead Features To Player 015 606x454

And even better, if you scrub the timeline on Life in a Day, it will give you a series of thumbnails so you can have a wide variety to choose from.  Here's how it looks:

YouTube Introduces Handy Look Ahead Features To Player 012 606x454

So overall, these are some pretty useful features, and it looks like YouTube thought a lot about the different kinds of searching you might want to attempt.

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If you'd like to try out the new features, they are on select videos right now.  I was able to do it on Life in a Day and the Star Wars Uncut crowdsourced film.  The new features aren't on most videos right now, but it appears to be something that will be a normal, everyday feature very soon.

Here it is on an embedded video:

  • Talkabout Productions

    Very cool!

  • Talkabout Productions

    Very cool!

  • Krause Gary A

    Great new feature; it's nice to be able to scroll ahead.

  • Michael Hall

    This is all good but if you really want to search a video you need to search it the way that Google searches documents now and the way that Seecue searches videos - that is - your choice of word from anyone on the web direct to the place in the video where it plays.

  • Pam Brossman

    I like these new features. Does that also mean that we can choose the thumbnail for the video instead of just picking from the 3 that YouTube chooses?

    • Chris Atkinson

      Unfortunately, least not yet...but it does seem like something they might be considering. As for now, they're just features for people watching the video.

  • Jeremy Ryan Clark

    Looks like You Tube is improving again.