YouTube Go is the new India-specific app from Google, which was announced at the second Google for India event that took place yesterday. Google’s YouTube Go app will be launched in India first, and users will have to sign up for it on the youtubego.com/signup website to get the app. Users can leave their mobile number or email id to sign up for this, which hints the sign-in could also be via the mobile phone number, instead of requiring a Google account like the main YouTube app.
YouTube Go app is all about helping users in India save on data, share and save videos easily. Google says “YouTube Go is result of extensive research done across 15 cities in India by teams of engineers, designers, and researchers collecting ideas and testing prototypes with hundreds of people.”
The app will rolled out to more testers in the coming weeks, and Google will also use their feedback. The company says it will improve the product more before it finally launches YouTube Go.
“We’ve always believed that connectivity should not be a barrier to watching YouTube. In 2014 we launched YouTube Offline so you could watch videos without suffering from buffering. A few months ago we rolled out Smart Offline, a feature that allows you to schedule videos to be saved offline later at off-peak times, when there’s more bandwidth so data is faster and cheaper. But 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,” said Johanna Wright, YouTube Vice President for Product Management in a press statement.
“With YouTube Go, we’re bringing the power of video to mobile users in a way that is more conscious of their data and connectivity, while being relatable and social,” she added.
So how will YouTube Go work?
First it will have a new preview function where users will able to get a quick preview of the video they are watching, before deciding to watch it or save it on the app. On YouTube Go when you tap on a thumbnail, it’ll open a quick preview of the video.
The Homescreen on YouTube Go will show popular and trending videos from close-by when a user opens the app.
Users will also have the option of choosing their resolution when saving or streaming a video. It will also show the amount of data the app requires before you decide to save the video or watch it.
The app will let users share videos with friends who are closeby, a feature which might appeal to many in India. Google says the app relies on WiFi direct to transfer the data and won’t need any internet access. Users can find their friends via Bluetooth on the phone and then share videos straight from the YouTube Go app.
YouTube is facing a challenge from Facebook and Instagram, which are focusing on video in a big way. With YouTube Go, Google wants to make sure they don’t lose the edge in a market like India where more and more users are expected to come on board and network connectivity still remains an issue.