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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

Users can now access YouTube’s new feature, a gear icon with more choices for toggling.

YouTube started testing a new voice recognition function in August that would let users identify themselves by humming, singing, or playing the tune of a song into the app. Although a version of this feature has existed on Google since at least 2020, this latest update has made it available on YouTube as well.

YouTube also revealed the option to lock the video player to prevent inadvertent taps and swipes, along with larger preview thumbnails for mobile app users. Additionally, there is a new scrubbing feature that allows users to release their finger when they feel a vibration and move it back to the beginning of the scrub. The Like and Subscribe buttons now have a more appealing design.

On Tuesday, YouTube shared that it is testing more song search capabilities on Android and a channel shelf in the Subscriptions feed for multiple uploads. 

Once YouTube finds the song, the platform will redirect users to relevant videos, including official music content and user-generated videos or Shorts featuring the song. 

The song search experiment is being rolled out to “a small percentage of people across the globe who watch YouTube on Android devices,” according to the release. 

How to deal with YouTube’s ad-blocker pop-up

Ideally, this pop-up will only show up as a transient window with a closeable (X) button when it appears. But sometimes, you get a warning that prevents you from viewing YouTube at all. Currently, the most important thing to do is remove the YouTube ad-blocker popup trigger: Turn off the ad blocker on your computer.

That’s not excellent news for those of us who like to keep our ad-blockers enabled while browsing the internet. Not only do ad-blockers keep the web focused and clean, they can protect us from malicious ads. Still, YouTube is beginning to get more aggressive about discouraging ad-blockers, and if yours is causing the pop-up to impede your ability to watch YouTube at all, your options are limited. (It even applies to browsers with built-in ad-blocking features like Microsoft’s Edge, which might trigger the YouTube pop-up when using the “Strict” tracking prevention setting.)

You do not, however, have to completely give up using your ad-blocker. Alternatively, you can add YouTube to your whitelist, allowing your ad blocker to turn off when you visit the YouTube website but to turn back on for all other websites. This is either a simple action or an option that you can discover in the settings of your ad-blocker. In uBlock Origin, for instance, you can disable the blocker on the current website by clicking the power button. To make the change take effect, refresh the page.

YouTube Premium is the simplest way to view YouTube without worrying about advertisements or the ad-blocker pop-up at all, provided you’re ready to pay the money. Naturally, that comes with a monthly fee of $13.99, which is very expensive for a website whose material is normally free, particularly in light of rival streaming services’ pricing increases.

One possible workaround for the browser-based ad-blocker issue is to use an ad-free third-party YouTube client. If you use iOS, iPadOS, or macOS, the Vinegar YouTube addon offers features like background playback along with the ability to block adverts. There are many solutions available on Android, such as SmartTube for Android TV in addition to SkyTube, LibreTube, and NewTube.

All the same, there are certain technological solutions you can try if you want to keep using your browser-based ad-blocker on YouTube. To prevent this pop-up from showing in browsers like Chrome, Edge, and Safari, GadgetsToUse provides instructions on how to add scripts to uBlock Origin and the Brave browser. You can also install an anti-ad-blocker assassin.

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