Google is currently testing out a new design for YouTube that draws its influence from Android’s Material Design.

A strong focus on visual elements and iconography is clear in everything from signing in to uploading. Although the layout of the content is not much different from the existing site design, users will instantly notice that it looks fresher and more modern.

The new home page will have a search bar in the middle, while the upload button has been axed in favor of the upload arrow that is found on Google’s mobile apps.

An overflow menu boasts options such as help, changing the language or country, turning restricted mode on or off, sending feedback, and reverting to the classic interface. To the left, a hamburger menu offers options such as History, Home, and Trending, among others.

The difference becomes even more obvious when you head over to the Channel pages, where the background color will match the header image’s dominant color and a circular logo is seen in place of the previous square styling.

Underneath the header image, which stretches across the screen’s entire width, are the subscriber counts and subscribe button. Meanwhile, the tabs for Videos, Playlist, and Home that appear underneath the header image feature a Material animation when users move between them.

No word on official launch

Although it appears that Google is A/B testing the update with a limited set of users, some people have managed to enable it themselves. Those who currently use Chrome can try out the new version if they are logged out and accessing the US version of the site using steps outlined by The Verge.

According to Alexa, YouTube is the world’s number 2 website in terms of monthly web traffic after Therefore, the new layout has been carefully designed to ensure minimal disruption and confusion among its many users. The goal appears to be modernizing the site without sacrificing any of its functionality.

Google first introduced the Material Design nearly two years ago. Chrome OS recently got a Material Design makeover, and the OS X and Windows versions of Chrome are expected to get their own versions of this updated look soon. It has also already hit services such as Google Analytics and AdWords. Google has not yet stated when the Material Design will come to YouTube, but all signs are pointing to a release in the very near future.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.