It was a few days ago the folks from Google’s YouTube team announced a new feature coming soon to mobile that would give users the ability to watch videos when no internet connection was available. Similar to “pre-loading”, this is different int that users will be able to select specific videos for complete offline viewing (not just your “Watch Later” playlist) but only for a “short time”.
Of course, details on this upcoming feature were scarce and we were curious to see how Google would handle the delicate issue with movie studios and music labels. Thankfully, the folks at All Things D spilled the beans, and here’s what you can expect from your YouTube app when it’s updated in the near future:
YouTube videos will still have ads
Users can select “add to device” to make videos available offline
Users have 48 hours to check-in in order to continue watching “offline” videos
Does not apply to movie/tv shows for sale or rent
Content creators will need to opt-out if they don’t want this new feature for their videos
No mention of music videos
YouTube says the feature will go live sometime in November (a month after the rumored Nexus 5 release), where they’ll update their blog with additional details. Seems like a nifty feature for tablet users who may not always have an active internet connection, especially when traveling. We’re hoping that buy YouTube views will have a special section specifically for these offline videos inside their app, or maybe even offline videos that appear in the Android 4.4 KitKat’s (rumored) new Gallery app.
A little earlier this week, we got some news from Google about a forthcoming feature for its YouTube mobile apps, where they’d be gaining the ability to cache videos for offline play. Considering all the stink Google has been making about Microsoft’s efforts to side-step YouTube rules – and specifically some of those concerning downloading clips – this was quite the surprising development. However, the announcement was seriously light on specifics, and while it was clear this feature was coming, we still didn’t know how long the “short period” we’d be able to save videos for would last, nor if this would work equally well for all clips. While the full picture isn’t yet clear, we’ve heard a lot of new details that help expand on what we know about this change.
For starters, it’s emerged that videos will be able to be cached to phones for 48 hours following download. Beyond that, users will have to get back online and check-in with YouTube in order to continue watching. And don’t think that going offline will save you from advertising – in-stream ads will be cached, as well.
By default, all YouTube videos will support this mode, though Google’s giving content creators the opportunity to manually withdraw support, whether for individual videos or their entire libraries.
However, some stuff just won’t work: any shows or movies your purchased through YouTube (or Google Play, for that matter) can’t be cached via this feature. There’s also the concern that some high-value content for buy youtube likes, like music videos tied to major labels, might be off the table right from the moment this ability rolls out.
Still, it generally sounds pretty promising, and 48 hours should be plenty enough to keep your phone full of entertaining content for a weekend away in the wilderness.
YouTube videos will soon be viewable even without an Internet connection thanks to an upcoming feature that will deliver offline YouTube support for the video-sharing website’s mobile apps. The YouTube Creator blog has revealed that Google will soon enable a cache feature that can store certain videos onto a device so users can view them later. Downloads will be available for a “short period,” so there will be a cap on how long the files will be available to store offline before users must watch the videos.
While it’s a given that the YouTube Android app will support this feature, it’s appears likely that the iOS app will also be able to cache video given the description of “mobile apps” rather simply specifying Android. BlackBerry and Windows Phone users probably will not be as lucky because their platforms have web apps rather than true mobile apps. In a cruel twist of fate, Google forced Microsoft to remove its self-developed YouTube app for Windows Phone because, among other things, it allowed users to download videos. Downloading videos on any platform or device is a violation of YouTube’s terms of service. Google will introduce temporary downloads to Android and iOS in November .