Google has unveiled a new YouTube app that places an emphasis on offline viewing. Users will be able to download content to watch when disconnected. The app will target emerging markets and particularly concentrate on India.
YouTube Go has been designed to meet the special demands and challenges of providing video content to people who have limited internet access. Poor connectivity can be due to a variety of reasons. Slow connections, the high cost of cellular plans and unreliable network infrastructure are all factors in markets such as India.
YouTube Go is “built from the ground up for India,” according to Google. The company has spent an entire year creating the app. Today, it reaches user testing with “extensive” groups of people. It will see a full release in the future.
Considering these problems, Google came up with a solution that gives users a more robust playback experience. YouTube Go includes mechanisms that let it adapt to different connectivity situations, detecting when transfer speeds are slow and dynamically reducing quality. The app makes it clear how much data the user is consuming, preventing people from going over capped mobile contracts and incurring steep charges.
YouTube Go also includes the ability to download videos to play while completely offline. This is already possible in select markets from within the standard YouTube app. The implementation in YouTube Go lifts some of the restrictions placed on the regular approach though, including countdown timers that prevent you saving a video for more than 48 hours. YouTube Go has been designed to be “offline first” and includes more versatile download options.
This kind of feature could be popular with users across the world, facilitating significant mobile data use reductions by downloading video at home to watch while on the go. It will be of particular value to Indian consumers where 2G networks are still commonplace.
YouTube Go marks Google’s commitment to providing users around the world with access to its services. The company built the app in response to feedback from customers, many of whom enjoy using YouTube but end up waiting minutes for content to buffer each time they load a new video.
“We’ve always believed that connectivity should not be a barrier to watching YouTube,” said Google. “We realized that for the next generation of YouTube users to fully discover all that YouTube has to offer, we had to reimagine the YouTube mobile app from the ground up,” the company added.
Alongside YouTube Go, Google today announced an expanded Data Saver mode in the Chrome mobile app. Data Saver currently saves 138TB of data a week in India, the equivalent of 14 years of HD video. It is now able to compress videos as well as webpages, saving up to 67 percent of a user’s data. Additionally, Chrome has been expanded with a built-in Download mode that enables webpages to be cached in their entirety for offline reading. It will roll out to all users in a future update.
YouTube Go will launch first in India. It will come to other regions worldwide in the future. Google hasn’t yet announced any specific markets that will see the new app.