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YouTube Revamps Mobile App’s Recommendations

The single most popular source for mobile video says it will better personalize the clips it suggests for users as part of home screen overhaul

YouTube is giving its mobile “Home” a spring cleaning.

Tuesday, the online-video giant said it redesigned the “Home” tab of its app to accommodate bigger images, assign greater prominence to clip creators and provide more personalized recommendations it says make it easier to find what you want to watch.

YouTube’s scale in mobile video has been unrivaled. It’s the most popular source of streamed clips on the go, representing one-fifth of peak traffic in North America, according to researcher Sandvine. And its app is one of the most popular on U.S. gadgets, trailing only Facebook apps in reach.

Facebook, however, has been mounting an aggressive campaign to boost video viewing in its billions of users’ news feeds. Using its own algorithm to find video and elevate clips suited to user interests, Facebook quickly ramped up total video viewing on its network to more than 100 million hours every day, the company said in January.

YouTube’s new recommendation system is based on “deep neural network” technology, which finds patterns automatically and keeps learning and improving as it works, the company’s product manager, Brian Marquardt, said in a blog post announcing the redesign.

The new design also enlarges the thumbnail images associated with a video, and the company said a prominent icon highlights the creator of every clip.

The design update applies to the YouTube app for Apple devices and gadgets running Google’s Android software.