I tested YouTube’s new AI feature — what it does and how it works

The YouTube logo appears on a phone on top of a keyboard
(Image credit: SOPA Images / Getty Images)

YouTube is regularly rolling out new features for users to test and the latest makes use of AI to improve the structure of comments. Only available to YouTube Premium subscribers, the new AI feature adds a new Topics button above comments on the iOS and Android apps.

Google is actively pursuing ways to integrate artificial intelligence across its product range. This covers everything from Duet in Workspace which can write your essay for you in Docs or design the perfect spreadsheet in Sheets through to Bard, the AI chatbot that can check flight times, write a sonnet, or identify which species of spider is lurking in your kitchen.

Its latest AI feature brings some order to the chaos of YouTube comments. The blurb for the new feature, which is available until 5 December reads: “This experiment uses AI to organize and summarize published comments on videos with large comment sections.”

How to enable the new AI features in YouTube

It isn’t available on all videos, only those with more than a few thousand views and that are more than a few days old. Even then not every video has the topic and it isn’t clear why some do and some don’t — you just have to click and find out. Here is how to get the feature.

1. Head to the Account page

(Image: © YouTube)

This is an experimental feature and is only available for YouTube Premium subscribers. To access the feature head to your Account page in the bottom right-hand corner in the iOS or Android app. 

2. Tap Your Premium Benefits > Experimental new features

(Image: © YouTube)

Then scroll down to and tap Your Premium benefits.

Once you have access to the premium benefits screen you should see a button to try experimental new features. It should tell you how many features are available. Tap that link to go to the experiments screen.

3. Tap Turn on

(Image: © YouTube)

Here you will find a list of all available experiments. One of these should be an option to use AI to summarize comment topics. Tap Turn On underneath the description of the experiment to enable it on your account. Then try to find a video it works with

4. Find a video and select Topics

(Image: © YouTube)

This step is a bit hit-and-miss. Not every video has the topics feature available as it only works with slightly older videos and on those with tens of thousands of comments. Even then it isn’t as consistent as I’d expect, although it is an experimental feature.

The best chance of finding a video with a topic sorting option is to go for the big, multi-million subscriber accounts such as Mr Beast or Pewdiepie. I found a few examples and it tends to work best on longer, more complex videos such as a Mr Beast challenge or People vs Food taste tests with multiple segments and people.

When you do find the perfect video you’ll see a new topics button alongside the usual sorting options of newest and top. You’ll know it's an AI feature as it includes the sparkling diamond icon present across all Google AI tools and features.

To use the summary feature, simply hit the topics button. It will automatically summarize all the comments shared on that video and group them similar to a bulletin board or thread on X.

5. Select the Summary bubble

(Image: © YouTube)

Each section will appear as a bubble with a title, comment the avatar of the commenter. To see the comments under that automatically generated title simply tap the bubble.

Once you’ve accessed a particular thread it will appear more like the traditional YouTube comment layout, showing a comment and replies to that comment thread. 

That's really all there is to it. If you'd like to read more guides to help you use YouTube or any other AI feature, we have you covered with our huge selection of helpful tutorials. We can show you how to plan a vacation using Google Bard, how to move your address bar in Google Chrome for iPhone, and how to generate wallpaper using AI on Android.

Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?