Inspired by the backlash against Garden Spot High School’s “Gangnam Style” homage and other similar videos , YouTube today launched a new “Un-Watch” feature. Garden Spot’s clip has been described by Huffington Post as the “worst Video on The Entire Internet.” Four agonizing minutes of kids screwing up the horsey dance, singing “Spartan High School style,” and “Hey.. Lunch lady!” with droll, half-hearted delivery. And while millions are ironically amused, others simply want a few wasted minutes of their life back.
Un-watch is a curious product launch but has been a long time in the making. “It’s a way to not only erase the experience” says YouTube’s Elliot Neary, “but to also remove the support you’ve given a video by upping it’s viewcount. Ultimately this is about identity— people want to know that their views are are being counted only for the videos they believe in.”
The new “Un-Watch” button lives directly next to the video play button but with a reversed icon facing leftward. Google is a bit more cagey about revealing details of the technology itself. “You know those scenes in Men In Black where they use that device to erase a few minutes of memory?” says Neary. “It’s basically like that, but online. It’ll be like you never watched the video at all.”
The response to the launch has been unanimously praised and has unsurprisingly found strongest support among teens and sci-fi fanatics. Geoff Countryman, a longtime Star Wars devotee and self described “tech nerd” says “it’s basically the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. There are some videos that just need to be unseen.”