As of today, Play Store has made available for download Google's brand new video app ‘YouTube Go’, which is a lightweight variant of popular video streaming app YouTube. Hailed more suitable for Indian geographies where net connectivity isn't up to the mark, this is only the app's beta version, and has been launched with a view to invite early feedback from Android beta testers so that a bug-free version can be released later this year.
As the name suggests, YouTube Go is for the on-the-go, data conscious user, who may not necessarily have access to WiFi or even the best data connection, and is targeted mainly at smartphone users located in the interiors of the country. This plan was first announced by Google in September last year.
After flashing a disclaimer that the app may be unstable as it is in beta, you will notice the tweaks starting from its very size. The app is all of 7MB in size and takes up about 19MB of space on your phone upon download. Once inside, it offers users with a variety of data-light options while browsing, streaming, and also saving for offline viewing. In fact, the file size is anywhere between one-third and one-tenth of the original.
Even compared to the file size for the most low-quality version of offline videos on the original app, the Go app's file size of the same version is still significantly lower. The quality of the video, of course, is questionable, but the app is meant for the data conscious and also informs the user every step of the way how much data will be consumed with every action. Furthermore, it has a cap on the video quality and doesn't contain videos of a higher resolution than 640p.
Another impressive feature is its video-sharing mode, wherein users can send videos to fellow YouTube Go users who are within their range, over a local ad-hoc Wi-Fi hotspot – similar to the technology employed by large file sharing apps like ShareIt. This exchange does not consume any data from either of the parties.
Your home page feed on this app will also be a slightly truncated version of the feed on the original YouTube app, and will only display the videos that are conducive to low data consumption.
The app is available for a spin in India at the moment, but it is unclear when it's stable.