Google will now show you a silent six-second clip to help you decide if it’s actually a video you want to see. This will work for the vast majority of videos on the web today — including, but not limited to, YouTube. according to tech website TECHCRUNCH, any video on the web is eligible for inclusion, though Google may not have a preview for some of the newest videos available yet because it takes the servers a bit of time to build the previews.
Even though video is getting more and more popular, it’s no secret that it’s not always the most convenient way to get information. A thumbnail isn’t going to give you a lot of information about what the actual video is going to look like, after all (thanks to clickbait thumbnails).
Google has used some of its machine learning smarts to enable this feature. That’s because the first six seconds of any given video aren’t usually the most representative ones. So Google’s algorithm actually analyzes the whole video and then decides which six-second clip to pick. Google product manager Prashant Baheti told techcrunch that the algorithm looks at what’s in the different scenes in a video, where those scenes start and end, and which scenes best represent the video.
It’s worth noting that these previews do not feature any ads and by default, they will only play when you are using a WiFi connection. If you want, you can enable video previews on mobile networks, too, or even completely opt out of them in the settings for both the Google app and Google Chrome for Android.
For now, this feature is only available on mobile, both through the Google app and in Chrome. It’s not available on the desktop yet.