YouTube picture-in-picture may be rolled out to more free users. A hand holding a smartphone with multiple video streaming images overlapping. The largest image on the phone screen displays a prominent YouTube play button, indicating video content, surrounded by animated rays suggesting a highlight or selection. The smaller images within the phone screen showcase a sports car, a beauty tutorial, and a music visualizer. In the background, there's a laptop displaying a YouTube page with various video thumbnails and interface elements.

YouTube is planning to roll out its picture-in-picture (PIP) feature to more countries, according to reports. The video platform has been offering this in the U.S. since 2022, but it appears that Google recently released this option on YouTube to some of the free users in Europe for the last couple of weeks.

While Google hasn’t made a formal announcement, Android Police reported that the latest change is available on Android as well as iOS devices. Last week, Google even reiterated that it was still only providing this service to paid subscribers.

Several Reddit discussions highlight users discovering picture-in-picture (PiP) features on non-Premium accounts. In a different conversation, two European users reported encountering the same functionality. 

Meanwhile, I managed to access this feature twice in the UK before it disappeared again. This suggests that it could be part of an experiment currently limited to users in Europe or merely an error on YouTube’s part.

In order to access this feature in general, you have to manually activate the picture-in-picture feature. To do this, go to YouTube, select the profile icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen, hit the Settings icon in the top-right corner, choose General, and enable the picture-in-picture option. If Google has truly begun providing PIP at no cost in Europe, there’s a possibility the feature will be rolled out for free in other regions incrementally.

On YouTube’s support page, it states that PiP is not available for ad-supported users outside the US. If you have YouTube Premium, these limitations do not apply globally. One Reddit user mentioned that, besides music videos, free users might also be unable to use PiP for certain videos that could contain copyrighted material, such as songs.

Other features coming to YouTube

Earlier this month, Neal Mohan, the CEO of YouTube, announced the platform’s strategic plan for 2024, focusing on artificial intelligence (AI), amplifying the influence of content creators, improving user safety, and broadening its reach into living room entertainment and subscription-based models.

On the other end of the spectrum, the platform is also cracking down on cyberbullying and harassment by updating its policies to prohibit content that uses artificial intelligence to simulate minors and other crime victims narrating their own deaths or experiences of violence.

Featured image: Canva

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