In May, YouTube began testing “Listening Controls” to bring a dedicated music player into the main Premium subscriber app. This user interface is now widely available for all videos.
Listen commands replace everything under the video window with a sparse sheet. Play / pause, next / previous and rewind / forward in 10 seconds are the main buttons. There is also the ability to appreciate (with counting), save to playlist (holding down allows you to select) and control playback speed. The title and channel of the video are listed above, while this sheet can be closed in the upper right corner.
When watching music, YouTube suggests launching “Listen Commands” through a tablet over the player window. That being said, it can be released for any video in the overflow menu in the corner. (Appears between “Playback speed” and “VR viewing” buttons.)
Once activated, listening commands persist and remain even when you switch to a new video in the Home, search, etc. feed. While the pill suggests that this is for listening to music, it’s useful for any form of sound, such as podcasts – an area that YouTube is exploring.
In the meantime, it’s better than interacting with the countless tiny icons in the video window that hide after a few seconds. Finally, the persistent nature hides the “Next” feed for a smooth, hassle-free YouTube viewing experience.
Listening commands are available on both Android and iOS for YouTube Premium subscribers. This is an interesting (unpublished) paid advantage that seems to have been widely released in recent weeks and available to all users in the US when we checked today.
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