I’m trying to figure out who invented the video preview thumbnail that pops up e.g. on YouTube when the mouse cursor touches the timeline. The first time I saw this UI element was on a porn website (and I'm a little bit ashamed to admit that). Does anyone have further information about this?

Thumbnail video timeline preview

  • Funny, YouTube was the first place I saw it. Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 1:27
  • 3
    @MichaelHampton The porn industry is always ahead with video technology. HD, 3D, 4K..
    – OJFord
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 2:03
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    This is the earliest dated mention I can find - a feature request on Google's Youtube product forums. States "xvideos.com and other sites do this" on 30th Dec 2011.
    – OJFord
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 2:11
  • Why don't more video players have a "Back 15 seconds" button? I think that it'd be way more convenient to use than having to drag a slider.
    – Tim Huynh
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 3:44
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about UX. Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


This is like asking "who made the first tower defense game" it's really really hard. Porn was way ahead of youtube though, historically porn always has been.

I'm not sure how modern parallels can be drawn, the porn industry is not as powerful nor large as it used to be, HDDVDs were just crap, Microsoft just wanted a foothold really, much like their equally as crap QR-code like thing that I only found out bout when an article told me it was dying. The formats that have won the "wars" have always been better, Betamax had A LOT of problems like duration for example.

That's off topic.

I doubt you'll ever find an answer but if you do, try and find the guys who actually made the porn flash players back in the days. I'm not sure if clicking "contact us" and sending such an email will work though....

I also have no doubt Apple were the first to patent, but as always they didn't invent it :P (This is a joke, people who get it will know what I mean)

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