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May 16, 2018

YouTube TV rolls out voice control, incognito mode in new test

by John_A

Ready for marathon couch potato sessions that require lifting even fewer fingers? YouTube TV’s voice-control feature appears to be finally rolling out as some (but not all) users are spotting the feature. It comes alongside a test that creates an incognito mode for those videos you don’t want saved in your watch history.

YouTube TV’s voice control project isn’t exactly a secret — the website’s help page on the feature has been live for a while now. The Google-owned platform can also use Google Home to control the live TV service with your voice. But the new feature, spotted by Android Police, brings voice control using just the YouTube app. The voice control is for YouTube TV, a paid subscription for cord-cutters that streams live content from more than 50 different networks.

The feature hasn’t yet rolled out to all users, but those that have the early access will spot a microphone inside the YouTube TV app. Tapping that (and giving the app permission to access the microphone) enables the voice remote with a handful of spoken commands. The voice remote allows users to ask for or record a specific channel or show, along with navigating to different areas of YouTube TV.

Another potential feature for YouTube’s original app (not YouTube TV) makes it easier to turn off watch history, another feature spotted by Android Police. The test places a “turn on Incognito” option inside the account settings in the app. With this mode on, YouTube doesn’t track what you’re watching to recommend videos later and watch history is automatically cleared. A pop-up window notifies users before entering the mode that incognito doesn’t necessarily prevent teachers, bosses, or internet providers from learning what you’ve watched.

Incognito is similar to being signed off the account — subscription access isn’t available and the profile picture is swapped with an incognito icon. YouTube already has a similar tool inside the privacy settings, with two sliders to pause watch or search history separately. The mode appears to be an easier way to temporarily stop that tracking and is similar to Google Chrome’s incognito mode.

While a help page for the YouTube TV voice control confirms the feature, YouTube hasn’t yet clarified if the voice control is a test or a slow rollout. The company also hasn’t commented on the incognito mode test.

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