YouTube Go enables better offline viewing and sharing for bandwidth-restricted users

YouTube Go announced, aiming to re-define the viewing experience for users in India

YouTube Go – which is not an augmented-reality version of YouTube (if only) – is new app that aims to bring YouTube to parts of the world where bandwidth is expensive or unreliable.

In India, which makes up 17% of the world’s population, bandwidth is a real problem. Many consumers pay by the gigabyte, and prices can fluctuate depending on the time of day.

Google has been working to make YouTube more accessible for the past several years. In 2014, they launched YouTube Offline, which allowed users in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines the ability to save a subset of the videos on the platform for offline viewing. Once saved, the videos would remain on your device for 48 hours.

A few months back, they took it up a notch with Smart Offline. When users from India tap the offline icon, they’re given the option to “Save overnight,” which will schedule the video to be downloaded locally after peak hours end later that night.

Today in a blog post, VP of Product Management Johanna Wright announced a complete overhaul of the offline experience.

YouTube Go is an entirely new application with the need to conserve bandwidth at the forefront of all operations. Users will be able to preview videos before committing to watching or saving, and if they do decide to save, they can choose their preferred resolution and see the data costs associated with each.

The most notable feature is an ad-hoc sort of video sharing mechanism. Friends and family will be able to share videos they have saved offline with those nearby – totally wirelessly, without using any data.

YouTube Go's offline savingYouTube Go's send-to-friend feature

YouTube Go will debut first in India. It isn’t quite ready for the country’s 1.2 billion population just yet, but those interested in becoming one of the first to try the app, you can sign up here.