YouTube Go was announced recently at a press conference in New Delhi, India. The app is a variation of the standard app and is aimed at consumers who want to be careful with their data plans or have very limited plans altogether. YouTube has a record of racking up 167.4 million unique viewers just in the US each month*. With their battle with Facebook over video streaming supremacy heating up, the streaming king is stepping up its game to make sure it is available to as many people as possible all the time. And until the world is blanketed by a network of Internet connections, YouTube will do the next best thing, make videos available offline.
The YouTube Go app allows you to download videos to your device and stream them offline. It shows you a slideshow of clips from the video to make up your mind. If you decide on watching it, you can see the size of the video and how much space is available on your device. Then you can select the video quality and download it. The app also allows you to send videos to others near you via Bluetooth.
YouTube has offered features like this on its app before like offline streaming (announced two years ago). Smart Offline was added this June and allows users to download selected videos automatically during times that data is the least expensive or free.
YouTube Go isn’t available for testing yet and no release date has been given for it but Indian users can go sign up for it here.
“YouTube Go was designed and built from the ground up with insights from India, in order to bring the power of video to mobile users in a way that is more conscious of their data and connectivity, while still being locally relevant and social.”
-YouTube product management VP Johanna Wright
Data is becoming an increasingly ubiquitous commodity. Everywhere in the world, free wifi networks are dominating public places and many countries offer 3G and 4G data plans to their consumers, most recently and importantly, India (4G). And these places are huge markets for growth since they house some of the world’s largest populations (India has the second largest population of any country next to China and is expected to take the top spot in the coming years). YouTube already gets billions of views on its most popular videos, imagine what an impact of a billion people constantly connected to the site can do.
Yet YouTube’s strategy in India understands the climate. It is ripe for growth but not everyone has a smartphone and most certainly not one that can use 4G. But even saving the videos to their phones, people can register hits on YouTube (I expect YouTube will count a download as a single view).