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I have a very technical question about the latest feature shown on those video platforms, like YouTube and other.

There’s been a trend lately that the classic still image thumbnails have been transformed to animated video thumbnails (I don’t know if they were gif).

This feature allows users to “preview” the animated content of the video through the thumbnail without them clicking it. You simply just need the mouse cursor to hover over the thumbnail to get “auto-play” loaded.

Now, here’s the real question. When you click the thumbnail to watch a video on a new page. Of course, you would be given a new DNS footprint because you have opened a new page.

But for these “preview thumbnails”, you didn’t create any new page by clicking, but just activated them via hovering over on the same page. Does that mean my DNS footprint was staying the same on the thumbnail page instead of video page.

To put it simply, I don’t my DNS footprint to show I watched that actual video just because I “previewed them on thumbnails without clicking them.

I don’t know how this technology worked but I heard about they were widely adopted by adult video sites, and now by YouTube!

I discovered some insights about how these animated thumbnail were coded:

https://mux.com/blog/instant-gifs-for-animated-video-thumbnails/

I don’t want my ISP to interpret that I clicked 100 videos just because I “previewed” them on these uncontrollable thumbnails. Am I worry to much?

Thanks

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Now, here’s the real question. When you click the thumbnail to watch a video on a new page. Of course, you would be given a new DNS footprint because you have opened a new page.

Probably not. DNS is cached extensively. YouTube seems to have TTL of 300s, which means that responses are cached for 300 seconds.

To put it simply, I don’t my DNS footprint to show I watched that actual video just because I “previewed them on thumbnails without clicking them.

DNS does not show what you watched. It doesn't show the URL. It shows host names, not URLs. It does not say anything about what you loaded.

Furthermore you should remember that modern web applications like YouTube does not execute requests only when you click, but do so more or less continuously in the background.

I don’t want my ISP to interpret that I clicked 100 videos just because I “previewed” them on these uncontrollable thumbnails. Am I worry to much?

If I were a ISP, and wanted to detect amount of videos you were watching, DNS wouldn't even be part of the equation. But why would an ISP want to do this anyway?

  • "YouTube seems to have TTL of 300s, which means that responses are cached for 300 seconds." - browsers don't really care about the TTL. See also stackoverflow.com/questions/36917513/…. So it more depends on the upstream DNS used (from the perspective of the browser). – Steffen Ullrich Mar 17 at 9:11
  • @SteffenUllrich That's true, yet it should be noted that many home routers to cache DNS. – vidarlo Mar 17 at 9:18
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    Yes, the routers cache and the browser caches etc and I agree with the main points in your answer (and I've upvoted it already). I only nag on the small detail that how much (or how few) caching is actually be done by a system or software can be seen by just looking at the TTL. – Steffen Ullrich Mar 17 at 10:29

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