YouTube to delete video annotations next year

Starting in January, you won't be able to see annotations in videos.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou

Annotations have been around for almost ten years.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

You won't be able to see annotations on  YouTube  videos pretty soon.

On Tuesday, the Google-owned video-sharing service said it will stop displaying video annotation on Jan. 15, citing a drop in the number of people who see the marked-up videos. Annotations only work on desktop computers, YouTube said, but video traffic has shifted to mobile, resulting in fewer viewers. The video-sharing service said more than 70% of its watch time now comes from mobile users. 

Annotations allowed video makers layer text, links and spotlights to your videos. YouTube added the tool for video makers in June 2008. The tool consisted of a two-pane editor that displays your video on one side and a list of annotations on the other. 

In March 2015, YouTube rolled out interactive cards, small "i" circled icons in the upper-right corner of a video. When clicked or tapped, the icon opens a small interactive panel showing information the creator wants you to see. They're less disrupting than annotations.

YouTube discontinued the annotations editor in May 2017. You can no longer add new or edit existing annotations, only delete them. Existing annotations still show when using a desktop computer, according to a Google post.