Google has just launched Android One in India, which is a program designed to bring smartphones to the remaining five billion people that don’t have one yet.
Google used this opportunity to announce another new thing for users in India, the ability to view most YouTube videos offline. This feature will be rolled out in the next several weeks.
Caesar Sengupta, vice president of product management at Google said during the official announcement:
YouTube is popular here. You watch some videos again and again. How awesome would it be if you could keep watching them again and again without having to pay for data, and take the videos with you wherever you go. Within the coming few weeks, much of YouTube will be available offline in India. This is huge, and our users will really, really like this. You can download a video once, save it to your phone, and watch it again and again.
A Google spokesperson clarified that content will be available offline at the discretion of the content owner. The option will be available by default, but content owners can decide if they want to opt out of it. Video views and ad impressions will still be tracked during offline viewing.
Google is launching this feature in India first because it’s a unique market for them. To give an example, there are 900 million phone users in India, but only 10 percent have smartphones.
Among those who have smartphones, their access to high speed wifi is limited. With Android One smartphones, Google wants to provide a real smartphone experience for users in India. They will do this by paying for data used to download updates, and will cover up to 200MB of data used to install apps if you use an Airtel SIM, and offline YouTube videos.
As of now there is no word on if Google will bring offline video viewing on YouTube to other countries.