YouTube Alters Homepage: No Recommendations for Logged-Out or Incognito Mode Users

YouTube has implemented a controversial change that strips away personalized video recommendations for users browsing anonymously or through incognito mode (both on web and mobile devices). The move seems aimed at pushing more people to stay logged into their Google accounts while using the platform. Which is kind of become a norm for social media platforms now as Meta's Instagram has implemented the same feature in 2019.

Instead of suggested videos tailored to their interests, anonymous YouTube visitors now see a blank homepage prompting them to search for something to get started and "Start watching videos" to build a personalized feed. Searches yield no recommendations either, just a persistent nudge to watch more content.

This radical departure from YouTube's previous recommendation approach, which served up video picks even for non-logged-in users, has sparked backlash. Many view it as a heavy-handed effort to strong-arm people into handing over their viewing data for ad targeting.

The lack of recommendations isn't limited to incognito mode either. As per Mayank Parmar and Haridev on X those who clear their watch and search histories or disable tracking settings report similarly sparse YouTube homepages when signed in - a potential punishment for refusing to share that valuable engagement data.

While YouTube hasn't officially commented, it's clear the platform is tightening its grip on the personalized, data-driven experiences that earn it billions. Whether casual users will accept being cornered into persistent tracking remains to be seen.

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