by Graham Pierrepoint
YouTube has arguably changed the way in which millions of us view entertainment. Since 2005 it has given young people lucrative contracts and careers through simple video tutorials, gaming commentaries, bizarre mashups and more besides – it evolved, over time, from being a social network of sorts for video sharing into a colossal entertainment brand, one which is relied upon for cultural content, memes and music video sharing. Some pop charts even take YouTube views into account – which goes to demonstrate just how important the little red play button is in today’s culture.
One thing still stands in the way of its further success – the fact that you need to be online to use it. So many of us around the world today are connected to the internet almost constantly, with access to WiFi at home, at work, in restaurants and bars, and outside of this, through 4G and 3G mobile data – however, there are still black spots and areas worldwide where internet access isn’t as easily found as water from a tap or clouds in the sky. YouTube understands this – and for people who are on limited data, or simply cannot connect to the internet for prolonged periods, the company has launched YouTube Go.
YouTube Go, for the time being, is only available in India – and will allow mobile users to download videos to their devices for offline playback at a later time. This technology offsets legions of third-party YouTube recording websites and software such as the popular Dirpy, meaning that Google may have tapped into a lucrative well for their frequent users. The big question on everyone’s lips, however, is when will it be rolled out worldwide?
It’s not currently clear. Some sites advise that users outside of India can download versions of YouTube Go through a mirror, which for Android users will mean enabling your device to accept third party installations. This may not be the most secure path to take, however, as devices have restrictions in place to ensure that potentially harmful applications can be avoided.
For now, therefore, it may simply be worth waiting to see if YouTube Go makes it over to the West in the months to come – if Indian users take to the service, it is likely we will be playing videos offline as well as online – meaning that the video sharing platform will enable us to download series and playlists with just the touch of a button or two. Hold on tight – and keep your fingers crossed.