YouTube Debuts Thumbnail Previews in the Video Seekbar, for Finer Control

The site makes it easier to skip to the exact portion of the video you want

By on March 7th, 2012 12:43 GMT

YouTube has revealed a number of features that it's been testing for a while now, thumbnail previews for videos. The feature is rather interesting, it enables you to get a sneak peek at what's ahead, or behind, in a video so you can skip or go back to the precise moment you want to.

"Over the coming weeks, you’ll be able to see an image preview or a series of thumbnails with three new features on our video player," YouTube announced.

"So whether you’re sneaking a peek ahead, scanning backwards, or using a thumbnail to find where you stopped watching a video, you’ll soon have three options to instantly look through YouTube videos," it said.

The technology has been used for three related but different features that should be rolling out to everyone on YouTube soon.

Sneak peek ahead

The first and the one that's probably going to get the most use is the sneak peek feature.

It's a simple and obvious feature, just hover your mouse over the seekbar and you'll see a thumbnail of the video at the precise time your mouse is at.

This way, if you're re-watching a video or just want to skip to the good part, you'll know exactly where to go and you won't have to blindly click on the seek bar until you find the right spot.

Thumbnail filmstrip

The second feature is very similar to the first one, but comes in handy when you want to get to a precise portion of the video, but you're not quite sure where it's at, or just want to "fast forward" a bit but don't want to miss out on anything.

Click and drag on the seekbar handle and move it forward and backward to see a thumbnail strip of the video around the location of the handle. It works very much like the sneak peek feature, but it enables users finer control.

Zoomed seekbar for longer videos

Finally, YouTube is making sure these new features work for longer videos as well. Since there are plenty of full-length movies or documentaries on YouTube, the seekbar may be too small to allow good control.

In this case a zoombar is used, a separate seekbar that focuses on about one minute and a half of the video, enabling you to find the exact part you want.

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