The annual “Google for India” event kicked off in New Delhi this morning, where the search company announced a new mobile app called YouTube Go.
Inspired by India for the next billion users, it’s designed to help people in areas with poor connectivity watch and share YouTube videos without burning up mobile data.
YouTube Go provides controls not found in the regular app to let users see the file size of videos before they download them to the device for offline viewing. And to save data, the app presents clips as slideshows.
“The new preview function shows you what to expect before choosing to save or play the video, and in which resolution,” said Google. Google says it designed the app to help improve the experience for the many Indian users who are still confined to sluggish 2G (EDGE) cellular connections. The team worked especially hard to ensure that users can save and watch videos without buffering on slow connections.
In addition to the familiar user interface, the app features video recommendations and was designed to “be offline first and work even when there’s low or no connectivity.”
YouTube Go reimagines the social experience: users can share videos to friends nearby via Bluetooth, without using up any data. India is about to undergo 4G revolution as local carriers have been working to upgrade their infrastructure.
Key highlights of the app:
- Find and discover relatable videos right on the home screen: YouTube Go homescreen features trending and popular videos in your area, so that you’ll find and fall in love with new videos that you and your community care about.
- Preview videos before you save or watch: Not sure if you want to watch the video? On YouTube Go when you tap on a thumbnail, it’ll trigger a quick preview of the video, giving you a better sense of what the video is about before you decide to save or play it.
- Choose your resolution when saving or streaming videos: Whether you’d like to save a video for offline viewing later, or stream it now, you can see and choose the amount of data you’d like to spend on that video.
- Share videos with friends nearby: Share videos with friends and family nearby without using any data. You can send and receive videos instantly and offline with others using the YouTube Go app.
Google shared some interesting stats during the keynote related to YouTube numbers in the populous country. It saw a cool 130 percent annual jump in YouTube watch time and 87 percent growth in overall watch time. Nearly two-thirds of YouTube watch time in India, or 65 percent, comes from mobile, the search company said.
YouTube Go is a staggered rollout over the next few months. Google wants to get user feedback and improve the app before launching it widely early next year.
It’s unclear if the app will be released on the iOS platform.
Sign up to be notified when YouTube Go is ready at youtubego.com/signup.