Google launches data-friendly YouTube app for India and other emerging markets

Google has introduced a new version of YouTube that is dedicated to users in emerging markets.

‘YouTube Go’ is initially available in India and Android only. It builds on some of the features Google has added to YouTube’s mobile apps in recent years, including the ability to save clips offline.

Arguably the most important element of YouTube Go is that offline option. The new app goes beyond simply allowing you to download a video to your phone or an SD card, which is important when you’re stuck on 2G or patching connectivity when you’re not on Wi-Fi, by including a preview that gives you an idea of what you are getting before you commit time to download. It also lets users pick a resolution to download to, potentially again saving them precious time.

YouTube Go also include resolution options for streaming to help optimize a person’s use of their data plan. That can also enable faster playback when connected on slower Wi-Fi connections, which is important in countries like India, too.

Finally, and perhaps most interesting, YouTube Go introduces sharing over Bluetooth. That essentially allows people to show videos to their friends without needing to be connected to the internet. Once again, that could be hugely useful for those using slow connections.

YouTube is arguably one of, if not the, most popular internet service in many emerging market — I very often see people in Southeast Asia using it as a music library while out and about, for example — but it isn’t Google’s sole focus. At an event dedicated to boosting connectivity in India held today, the U.S. company also announced updates to Google Chrome for Android and Google Play which will help save on data, while it has expanded its public Wi-Fi scheme, with began with a rollout on India’s railways, to include other partners beyond rails and potentially outside of India.