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YouTube is killing annotations, and the community isn’t well pleased

Thanks to internet users’ gradual but constant move to mobile, YouTube is killing its video annotations editing tool.

The tool, which launched in 2008, allowed users to “layer text, links, and hotspots over your video. They help you enrich the video experience by adding information, interactivity and engagement,” YouTube writes in its Help section.

But the company feels there just isn’t any place for the tool in 2017, with more than 60% of the company’s watchtime residing on mobile devices.

“Effective starting May 2, you’ll no longer be able to add new or edit existing annotations, only delete them. Existing annotations will continue to show when using a desktop computer. We wanted to give you advanced notice so you can adjust,” YouTube project manager Muli Salem announced this week.

You won’t be able to edit or add new YouTube annotations to videos from May 2017, but End Screens and Cards will remain

So what does this mean?

For one, if you have annotations on videos currently uploaded, they won’t disappear. You however won’t be able to add any more of edit those that remain from the beginning of May.

The company is giving users two additional options though, namely reminding users of End Screens and Cards.

“Based on your feedback, we’ve made Cards and End Screens even better over time,” the Salem explains.

“You told us you wanted Cards to link to videos within a playlist. So we made it happen. For End Screens, you asked for the ability to import End Screens from other videos and use smart elements. So we incorporated it.

“We’ll continue to listen to your inputs, as always.”

The case for and against axing YouTube’s annotations

The company does have a point for ditching annotations. Since End Screens and Cards’ introduction, annotation usage on clips have dipped by 70%. But not everyone is happy about the move.

“Annotations are so much more versatile than end cards though! Can’t we keep both? End cards only work for the last 20 seconds of a video, and what if I want to link someone to something before then, or add a title or link in the video?” comments one user below Salem’s blog.

‘Annotations are so much more versatile than end cards though! Can’t we keep both?’

“Just… why? what reason is there to take away functionality??? Annotations were good for fixing errors or typos, so how would someone rectify them without annotations?,” questions another.

“You can’t be fucking serious. You cannot be serious!,” blasts another furious YouTube user.

Yep, and that’s barely the angriest comment on the blog.

Even with the backlash from content creators on YouTube, it’s unlikely that the company will U-turn on its move, especially considering that mobile content consumption seems to be both Google and YouTube’s next focal point.

For more info on End Screens and Cards, head to those respective links.

Author | Andy Walker: Editor

Andy Walker: Editor
Camper by day, run-and-gunner by night, Andy prefers his toast like his coffee -- dark and crunchy. Specialising in spotting the next big Instagram cat star, Andy also dabbles in smartphone and game reviews over on Gearburn. More
  • Rocky Ullah

    “The company does have a point for ditching annotations. Since End Screens and Cards’ introduction, annotation usage on clips have dipped by 70%. But not everyone is happy about the move.”

    Actually the company doesn’t have a point. Annotations have dipped because YouTube has been heavily promoting End Cards over annotations since you have to choose one or the other. So that 70% dip is a highly flawed statistic to base a decision on.

  • Admin User

    annotations are totally freaking annoying. good riddance.