What Does "Add to Queue" on YouTube Mean?
By John Lister
"Add to Queue" was a YouTube feature that enabled you to set up a list of videos to watch in a particular order, rather than have to manually choose the next video each time a clip ended. This feature was also known as quicklist. The same functionality is now used as a shortcut to produce a playlist.
Add to Queue/Quicklist
YouTube used to have a feature for quickly creating a "queue" of videos to watch. Rather than having to go to the actual page for each clip, you could add a video from a list of suggestions, search results or from a list of videos uploaded by a particular user. To do this, you simply hovered your mouse over the thumbnail image for a video. When you did this, the text showing the duration of the video was replaced by a + sign. Clicking this added the video to the quicklist.
The quicklist function was only temporary. Once you watched a clip in the quicklist queue, that clip was removed from the list; once you'd watched all the clips, the list was empty as if you'd never created it. You didn't need to be logged in to YouTube to use a quicklist as the details were stored in your Web browser. However, this meant that if you closed your browser and then came back to YouTube later, or if you changed to a different computer, you would lose your quicklist.
YouTube has a playlists feature that works differently than quicklists. It is slightly less convenient to use -- to create a playlist, you must be logged in to your YouTube account (or create an account if necessary.) You can't normally add videos from thumbnails but must instead go to the page for the video itself and select "Add to" from the options below the video window. The main advantages of playlists are that you can create multiple playlists (for example, for different types of videos or for a specific series of clips), you don't lose the playlist when closing your browser, and you can access your playlist from any computer or device as long as you log in to your account.
As of March 2013, YouTube no longer offers the quicklist feature. Instead the + sign that appears on thumbnails has been replaced by an icon of a clock. Clicking on this icon automatically adds the video to a playlist titled "Watch Later." You can have only one "Watch Later" playlist, so if you want to add any videos to a separate playlist you will still need to visit the page for the video itself.
A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.