Annotations Editor was launched in 2008, before the world went mobile. Now YouTube is replacing its annotations engine with what it calls End Screen and Cards, which are existing, mobile-first tools that provide many of the same functions as annotations like linking to other videos and polling viewers.
YouTube says it made this change primarily because annotations didn’t work on mobile and most viewers found them obnoxious and unhelpful. The change takes effect on May 2nd, and existing annotations will continue to show up when using the desktop browser version of YouTube.
The small text boxes were meant as a way to let creators link to other videos, write in little jokes, and add ancillary information to a video much like a hyperlink or footnote of sorts.
Youtube product manager reported on a blog that as adoption of End Screens and Cards has grown, the use of annotations has decreased by over 70 percent. For this reason, the company thinks that time has come to discontinue Annotations Editor. Now users will be no longer be able to add new or edit existing annotations, only delete them. Existing annotations will continue to show when using a desktop computer.