YouTube (s GOOG) has done away with a feature designed to make it easier for users to share what they were watching with their friends in real time. After less than a year of testing, the Realtime Toolbar, which was rolled out to a limited number of users, has been retired, according to a post in the YouTube User forums.
The Realtime Toolbar, which was one of several experimental features that YouTube announced last April, allowed users to see what their friends were viewing, rating and commenting on. It also enabled users to invite others to watch videos along with them. But the toolbar was not very widely released, as users had to be invited to test it out.
Instead of continuing to support the experimental feature, YouTube is instead throwing its weight behind other projects that could help increase engagement and viewing among its users, like Auto-Share. The company issued the following statement regarding the shutdown: “We routinely test early products in TestTube to give the YouTube community a chance to try them out before retiring them, or rolling them out more broadly. Some social features, like Auto-Share, gain a lot of interest and adoption within the YouTube community while others do not.”
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