YouTube has finally delivered on its promise to allow users to download videos to watch while they don’t have a data connection, but it’s only available to users in India for now.
It isn’t the first time that the YouTube GO app has popped up on our radar, but the last time was in September 2016, when users in India needed to sign up to a pre-registration page to get access to the private trial. Now, the app’s freely available on the Google Play Store, though it’ll only show as available to download from there if you’re based in India. It’s also still listed as ‘Unreleased’ on the Store while still in beta.
The reasoning for India as a launch market makes sense, where infrastructure is less reliable, as the app massively reduces file size for all videos. Unfortunately, that also means you don’t have the option of watching within HD quality videos or higher within YouTube GO.
In our testing, there’s no trouble installing the APK from an alternative source and then using the app wherever you are. As part of the install process, it does make you link your mobile number to a Google account, to allow you to share YouTube GO videos with your contacts.
One problem for users outside of India currently is that all content seems to be marked as ineligible for download, which somewhat removes the point of downloading the app in the first place. Presumably, when Google’s ready to roll it out more widely to other countries, this will be less of a problem. There’s no telling when that might be though.
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