Google's AI will watch YouTube so you don't have to

Google's AI experiments can now give you information about the content of videos without you having to watch them first

Google Bard graphic
(Image credit: Google)

Google has good news for the time poor and bad news for content creators: its AI chatbot, Google Bard, can now watch YouTube videos so that you don't have to. Its YouTube analysis feature has been given a hefty upgrade that means you can ask for specific details about a video's content, so for example with a recipe video you'll be able to ask Bard how many eggs you'll need for the recipe. 

This has the potential to be an enormous time-saver, but it could also be terrible news for people who rely on you to watch their videos so they can get paid. 

The news comes via Android Authority, which suggests that the feature could give you handy details such as telling you what specific tool is being used in a repair video or where a particular part of a travel video was filmed. According to Google, the upgrade is because we "want deeper engagement with YouTube videos".

How to get Bard to watch YouTube for you

In order to take advantage of the new feature, you'll need to visit the Bard website and go into the Extensions section (it's the splat-looking icon towards the top right of the page). This is where you'll find the hooks to add Google Bard into Google Flights, Google Hotels, Google Maps, Google Workspace and YouTube, and that latter option needs to be switched on: it should already be on by default. 

Once you've done that you can enter plain language queries such as "show me a YouTube video how to make scrambled eggs" and then "how many eggs does the recipe have?" You should then get the result – in our video's case, "according to the video, the recipe uses three eggs" – without having to find the appropriate part of the clip. It's still pretty basic stuff – you can't currently ask Bard to give you the whole recipe; it just answers specific questions about it – but you can see where it's going.

Bard does embed the video too so that you can watch the whole thing, but the new feature will clearly soon enable you to skip the video altogether if you want to. Recipes are the most obvious example of where that's a problem, because recipes have a lot of extra content in order to get some advertising revenue: simply doing a video saying you should get X eggs and chuck them in a pan isn't long enough to have any advertising around it, so by bypassing the actual video content Google Bard could also be encouraging us not to pay content creators. And as so often with AI-like tools, that begs the question: if we don't pay for it, who will?

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).