YouTube is experimenting with red, blue, and green video feeds

YouTube logo on an abstract background
Some app users are seeing options to filter homepage videos by green, blue, or red. | Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube is testing a new feature that allows users to filter videos on their home feed by color, creating a more visually cohesive and pleasing experience when browsing. 9to5Google and users on Lemmy have reported seeing a new prompt window appear on the YouTube mobile app, asking users if they’re “craving something new,” with options to create a video feed by red, blue, or green hues.

This is an experimental feature and hasn’t been rolled out widely. YouTube spokesperson Allison Toh confirmed to The Verge that it’s currently available to “select users on Android and iOS mobile devices.” The company did not explain why it was developing such a feature, however, or provide a timeline for when (or if) it will be widely available.

A screengrab taken from the YouTube mobile app displaying the new color feed options.
Image: YouTube / 9to5Google
If the icons YouTube provided are any indication, there’s some wriggle room regarding what will feature under each color filter.

Selecting a color filter doesn’t replace your existing homepage feed. Instead, the color-coordinated results appear as a new feed option located at the top of the YouTube app. Exactly how these videos are being filtered isn’t entirely clear. It appears to be based on the most prominent colors featured in thumbnails, but may potentially be analyzing the full video to detect if that color dominates throughout. Regardless, the feature appears to be entirely an aesthetic choice as there’s nothing to otherwise connect the filtered results by theme or content.

A screengrab taken from YouTubes mobile app displaying the new color-coordinated homepage filter.
Image: YouTube / 9to5Google
An example of what you’d see under the red filter. There’s seemingly no themes attached to these filters aside from the main color featured on the videos.

While it may be an unusual way to sort videos, color harmony is a marketing strategy that can be seen across a multitude of industries. Businesses on Instagram, particularly those within fashion and beauty, often coordinate their posts to ensure their main feeds smoothly flow from one color theme to the next. Cosmetics company ColourPop is a good example of this. One widely cited study from the University of Winnipeg found that up to 90 percent of our assessment of people and products is based on color alone.

Users on Lemmy also pointed out that this could be a data collection strategy to monitor how often YouTube users engage with certain colors. Either way, it’s a neat option for folks who like to customize their apps entirely on aesthetics and vibes.