On Thursday, YouTube rolled out a new offline service for users in India. This feature has also been introduced in only three countries as of now- India, Philippines and Indonesia. This essential feature lets users provisionally save videos in offline mode so that they can watch it at a later time during periods of no or minimal internet connectivity. Once saved, each video can be accessed for up to 48 hours.
“Asia has proven itself to be a mobile-first world in terms of Smartphone adoption, but access to high-speed, affordable data remains a big challenge,” YouTube said in a blog post.
It is not surprising that Google has selected these three Asian countries to launch this novel service. Firstly internet speeds in all these countries, especially India is exasperatingly slow. Waiting for minutes for a web page to load is something all of us might have experienced even in urban areas at some point.
A recent study conducted in 2012 revealed that more than half of the mobile phones sold in India in 2012 were smart phones. This shows that people are ready to embrace better and more efficient technology in their lives. India has the second largest mobile phone user base in the world, standing at an impressive 930 million users. But on the flipside, mobile penetration in our country is abysmally poor at 64 percent as of 2014. Compare that to China’s mobile penetration, which stands at an impressive 90 percent. When one considers rural areas only, this figure drops even further to a mere 46 percent. Hence the potential to unlock the Indian mobile market still remains massive. Among the 5 million users added every month, 30 percent of them are from rural areas. Another interesting thing to note is that, among these users, less than 50 percent use social media on their phones.
However, this figure is expected to change slowly but surely. The Indian government has adopted innovative methods to get the rural population to embrace technology. Farmers can now access information on agricultural activities right from their phones. They can now learn newer and more efficient methods of farming, pesticide use etc. Hence the potential to improve the mobile market in our nation is tremendous. This only means that we can expect more technological innovations in the mobile arena to cater to India-specific needs.
YouTube offline is just a start. We hope to keep finding better ways to make video content more affordable and accessible to our growing base of YouTube mobile users in the region,” said Jay Akkad, YouTube product supervisor for Asia Pacific.
Do you think offline YouTube playback videos will help you? Let us know.
Image Source: [You Tube]