Google has announced a version of its YouTube app for Android tailored specifically for people in areas where connectivity is limited. Dubbed YouTube Go, the new app has been designed from the ground up to give users more options over quality and file size, offline viewing and local sharing with nearby users without using any data thanks to Wi-Fi Direct.
The app was field tested with hundreds of users in 15 cities across India and will be launched there first, with plans to make it more widely available early next year.
"YouTube Go is a brand new app to help the next generation of users share and enjoy videos," YouTube Vice President of Product Management Johanna Wright said in a statement. "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."
The app is a natural extension of YouTube's previous offline modes. The home screen will feature the typical popular and trending videos from nearby, but with a new preview function where users will able to peek at a few frames before deciding to watch it or save it on the app.
Google is targeting the so-called "next billion" Internet users that are coming online, many of them in India, Indonesia, Brazil, and China. And of course it'll want to monetize views as well. Keeping with the low bandwidth approach, YouTube Go will only use six-second ads, which don't cost much data, and will be compressed to make downloads as small as possible.
Indian users can sign up now to test YouTube Go.