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YouTube AI summary feature explained

YouTube tests AI-generated video summaries to help users understand content before watching. How will this YouTube AI summary feature work?

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on November 10, 2023
YouTube AI summary
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The new YouTube AI summary feature promises to make the process of choosing what to watch easier than ever. These auto-generated video summaries will pair with video descriptions to help inform users about the content before watching it. Now, the worlds favourite video-sharing platform is “testing new experimental generative AI features” such as AI-categorised comment topics, its very own AI chatbot, and more!

What is the YouTube AI summary feature?

So far, only a limited test sample of users will see these summaries beside a limited number of English-language videos. Following this testing phase, we’ll see a wider rollout of the video summarizer. Try “What is ChatGPT – and what is it used for?” or “How to use ChatGPT on mobile” for further reading on ChatGPT.

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YouTube creators and their viewers alike stand to benefit from this convenient update to the user experience. The former may even reactively inform future content decisions based on what they know the AI will display to prospective viewers – we have yet to see how this will change the YouTube ‘meta’ as it were.

I am sadly not one of the chosen few, and YouTube themselves has not shared screenshots of the feature in question. Instead, YouTube’s support page provides further clarity, stating that the video platform is “starting to test AI auto-generated summaries on YouTube, so that it’s easier for you to read a quick summary about a video and decide whether it’s the right fit for you.”

Prior to this AI implementation, a user could inform themselves about a videos content without watching it by reading the description. This, however, is a user-created video summary and brings with it no guarantee of accuracy, relevancy, or written quality. YouTube’s hope is that the use of AI will add a systematic element to the user experience. AI auto-generated video summaries promise consistent formatting, tone, and a reliably quick overview to each YouTube video.

The ability to scrub through how-to videos by checking the timestamps along the progress bar has also been around for a while. However, it’s never been fun or convenient for the content creator to add those timestamps manually. With YouTube’s continued development of AI UX, we can hope this process becomes automated as well.

Topics – Comment topics summarised by AI

The video-sharing platform is “experimenting with AI that organises large comment sections of long-form videos into easily digestible themes”. The feature is rolling out now, so some users will see the new “Topics” button between the existing “Top” and “Newest” comment filter options, and some users won’t (yet).

YouTube AI Chatbot – A conversational AI tool

YouTube has confirmed that it is working on a “conversational AI tool”. The tool, rolling out now, will allow users to “get answers to questions about the video you’re watching, recommendations for related content, and more, all without interrupting playback”. The new “Ask” button will soon be displayed alongside the “Share” and “Download” buttons below a YouTube video.

A small group of people gained access to this feature on Monday, November 6th, and YouTube Premium subscribers can now opt-in to beta test the new feature.

While no AI chatbot or LLM was explicitly named, it’s worth noting that YouTube is owned by parent company Google. As a result, we expect the AI chatbot to feel pretty similar to Google Bard.

What’s the best AI YouTube video summarizer?

YouTube video summarizers have, in fact, existed for a while through Chrome Extensions. The official implementation is sure to bring a little more polish and integration though. 

The ability of AI to summarise content is seeing rapid adoption across industries. News publications like Artifact are integrating text summarization into news articles. It does so touting the tagline “We believe in finding you the most informative free stories, weeding out clickbait, and using AI to instantly summarize.” Google also have the their finger on the button, introducing both AI-generated summaries of both reviews, and apps themselves, automating these tasks on behalf of developers and publishers on the Google Play Store.

The future of AI auto-generated summaries

This simple yet effective tech has its place in many industries. Across social media, services such as LinkedIn, and Twitter, even non-social services like Chrome Web Store and Gmail can benefit in one way or another. LLMs (Large Language Models) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT are perfect for creating bullet-point summaries from prose, or even multimodal media. We at PC Guide even implemented a WordPress plugin this morning that does this for images across our site!

We expect to see this neat and succinct feature a great deal in the near future. It’s an easy win for the user experience.

Steve is an AI Content Writer for PC Guide, writing about all things artificial intelligence. He currently leads the AI reviews on the website.