Google has announced a completely revamped YouTube application called YouTube Go that’s been designed from the ground up for customers that don’t have access to high-speed, high bandwidth networks. It won’t replace the default YouTube app, don’t worry, but it will certainly make life easier for people in countries like India where mobile data is either expensive or just not fast enough for videos.
The app has been built around four main concepts: it’s relatable, it works offline, it’s cost-effective, and it’s social.
The relatability part is easy for Google, as the app is simply really good at recommending videos for you. Google (and YouTube) knows search, and it knows how to direct you to videos you’ll probably like.
A video app being built around offline usage sounds a little crazy at first, but Google really seems to have nailed their unique approach to this problem. When you first tap on a video you can preview it to see if it’s something you’re actually interested in watching, From there, you can choose to watch the video if you’re in a good situation for it, or you can save the video to watch later with no buffering. You can even choose between standard and HD quality to save space on your device, which ties into that third point; YouTube Go is cost-effective for customers with expensive data plans, since it gives an easy way to save lower quality video and use less mobile data. While saving a video, the app even shows how big each file will be.
The last thing Google wanted to implement was the ability for the app to be social, and they weren’t just talking about infamous YouTube comments. YouTube Go has a really cool feature where you can quickly share videos to nearby friends and family, all without using any data. Google didn’t divulge specifics, but it’s probably a quick form of the old Android Beam feature that utilizes WiFi direct to sling video to other nearby YouTube Go users.
It’s important to remember that this app is definitely not being aimed at current YouTube subscribers. Google already offers the option to download videos offline with YouTube Red, and they have quick sharing options and robust social features implemented into the main version of the app. YouTube Go is a product aimed at developing markets and places where it’s not as easy to find a fast WiFi connection or 10GB of LTE data, not those of us just looking to trim down our data usage. It won’t be a popular app in the US, but in somewhere like India where Google is spending a ton of time and money, it’s bound to be a hit.