YouTube is killing its Annotations Editor on May 2

An annotation in the top right corner of the window that was built with YouTube's Annotations Editor.

Google today announced that the Annotations Editor tool for putting text annotations in YouTube videos will be going away on May 2. No longer will people be able to add new annotations or edit existing annotations with the tool as of that date. However, video creators can use other tools to add content to videos after they’ve been uploaded.

YouTube introduced Annotations Editor all the way back in 2008 — “before the world went mobile,” Google product manager Muli Salem wrote in a blog post. Literally 60 percent of YouTube watch time is spent on mobile devices at this point.

When YouTube introduced annotations, they brought another dimension to YouTube videos, but today they look static and even a bit corny. Perhaps more importantly, they don’t work on mobile devices in a time when many technology companies talk about being mobile-first.

YouTube introduced cards for promoting videos, channels, and websites in 2015, and in 2016 it launched end screens to promote videos, channels, and other content with an overlay in the last seconds of videos. Both cards and end screens do work on mobile devices.

“As adoption of End Screens and Cards has grown, the use of annotations has decreased by over 70 percent,” Salem wrote.

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