UPDATED 15:45 EST / JULY 15 2015

NEWS

Facebook experiments with ‘Watch It Later’ video feature

Facebook is reportedly testing out a new feature that is hopes will get more users watching video, which is one of the company’s main current focuses.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook has confirmed that it is testing a new “Watch It Later” button for videos on its desktop version, which will allow users to bookmark videos that they want to see but do not have time to watch now. The button will appear as an overlay in the top right corner of a video whenever you mouse over it.

The new feature is aimed at getting users to watch more videos on Facebook, and while the feature is currently being tested on the desktop site only, Facebook would likely roll it out to mobile if it is successful.

While getting users to watch more video is one motive behind the new feature, you can also bet that Facebook will be keeping track of when you use it just like it does with every other interaction you make with videos. Bookmarking a video would tell Facebook that you are interested it, and the social network can use that data to predict what other videos (or ads) you might like.

Competing with Google

Facebook is betting heavily on video as the future of social media, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously stated that he believes that within the next five years, Facebook would be “mostly video.”

Its main competitor in that arena is Google’s YouTube, which has over 1 billion users who watch hundreds of millions of hours of videos a day from countries all over the world. Facebook’s own user base numbers over 1.4 billion, but it it relatively new to video streaming compared to the veteran YouTube, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in February.

While both YouTube and Facebook broke into video as sharing platforms, it is the premium content that actually draws in crowds, and that is where YouTube currently holds the most ground. Facebook is trying to change that, however, and the social network is testing out ad-supported content and has allegedly made attempts to pull a few YouTube stars over to its platform.

Photo by Robert Scoble 

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