Technology

YouTube Will Display a Blank Home Feed if Your Watch History Is Turned Off


Right now, YouTube has some suggestions for me. It thinks I might like to tune in to a live webcam from Venice or Italy, or clips from the adorable kids’ show Bluey, or maybe watch someone taste-test all the Gatorade flavors. But going forward, if you choose to turn off your YouTube watch history, you won’t be shown any recommendations.

Instead, your home page will be blank.

“Starting today, if you have YouTube watch history off and have no significant prior watch history, features that require watch history to provide video recommendations will be disabled — like your YouTube home feed,” a company representative said in a blog post. “This means that starting today, your home feed may look a lot different: you’ll be able to see the search bar and the left-hand guide menu, with no feed of recommended videos, thus allowing you to more easily search, browse subscribed channels and explore Topic tabs instead.”

YouTube says the changes will roll out “slowly, over the next few months.” The company says the change should make it “more clear which YouTube features rely on watch history to provide video recommendations and make it more streamlined for those of you who prefer to search rather than browse recommendations.”

Currently, YouTube offers up a page full of thumbnails and links to videos that you may want to watch. Once the change happens, you can switch your watch history on at any time if you want to. It can be changed on the My Google Activity settings page. But some users may prefer to search directly for videos rather than be influenced by YouTube’s suggestions, and to keep their watch history from fueling Google’s algorithms.