- YouTube is introducing rounded corners to its Android app, following a recent redesign on the desktop version, despite mixed feedback from users.
- The rounded corners apply to both video thumbnails and the video player itself, but not when the video is in full screen.
- YouTube has recently courted controversy for its aggressive campaign against adblockers, including making the Skip Ads button harder to notice and restricting video playback for adblock users.
It would be an understatement to say that YouTube has enjoyed a roller coaster ride in its relatively long span in the tech industry. Today, the platform is arguably one of the most used in the world, although some of its recent decisions — like adding rounded corners to videos on the web — aren’t exactly fan favorites. It seems like the folks at YouTube didn’t get the memo about this recent web player redesign, as we’re now coming across this change on the YouTube Android app as well.
When YouTube first confirmed this change was coming to desktop versions a few weeks ago, there was no mention of it making it to the mobile apps in the future. But as one of our readers found out, YouTube is indeed working on bringing rounded corners to its Android app, too.
The old YouTube (left); Thumbnails with rounded corners (right)
As you can see from the side-by-side comparison, the empty white space on either side of the thumbnails is instantly apparent. I personally liked the rectangular video thumbnails that extend to the width of the screen. But the folks over at YouTube beg to differ, and this is likely one of those changes that users have to deal with whether they like it or not.
Given that the rounded corners on the web also apply to the video player and not just the thumbnail on the home screen, we presume the same behavior applies here as well. The redesign doesn’t seem to be rolling out widely, as I can’t find it on my device yet. But much like the desktop version’s recent redesign, the rounded corners should begin appearing on the YouTube app for Android over the next few days or weeks.
One could forgive YouTube for adopting this rounded corner design on the desktop version since the suggestions on the right-hand side (pictured below) also feature rounded corners. To be clear, the rounded corners don’t appear on full screen or while in Theater mode, so it only applies when the video player is minimized.
YouTube’s tryst with controversies doesn’t end here, though. Over the past several months, the Google-owned streaming service has been engaged in a rather aggressive campaign to curb the use of adblockers, specifically for non-paying customers. The methods adopted by YouTube to achieve this goal have been rather unsavory, however.
Users came across the first anti-adblock warning around the same time as Google I/O. Then a month later, YouTube was found working on a three-strikes policy, which was followed by a timer for non-paying customers, asking them to get a Premium subscription to circumvent this newly developed restriction. Perhaps sensing the mounting criticism from customers about these warnings, YouTube changed its approach and made the Skip Ads button much harder to notice, a deliberate attempt at deception, ensuring unsuspecting users sit through entire ads.
All of this finally came to a head this week when YouTube started blocking video playback, while also displaying the same three points explaining how ads ensure customers can keep using YouTube for free, while also encouraging customers to either allowlist YouTube or get a Premium subscription.