YouTube won its first Emmy this year, for personalized video recommendations, and I had an exclusive chat with the team who builds them:
Along the way, YouTube learned some surprising lessons about what makes for a good algorithm. For starters: suggesting the videos most closely related to the one a person is already watching actually drives them away. "If we show what our algorithms think is the best possible match all the time, they get bored pretty rapidly," says Hector Yee, a software engineer at YouTube who works on building the algorithm. "Users like a variety of topics."