YouTube has started rolling out a new ‘Smart Offline’ feature, made available only in India for now, which automatically downloads videos for offline viewing during off-peak overnight data plans are at their cheapest. Reason behind this is because many Indian carriers offer low-cost overnight data rates when there’s less demand on bandwidth. YouTube’s Smart Offline lets mobile users take advantage of cheaper data rates, where telecom operators offer affordable night packs in the country.
Although YouTube has traditionally required an internet connection to access videos, and not all markets have ubiquitous mobile internet, Google has thrown some markets a tweak by allowing offline access. Ad dollars are ad dollars at the end of the day, whether offline or online. In India, a number of mobile operators offer promotions and discounted data during off-peak hours. So now, when an Android user in India taps the button to push a video offline, they’ll be asked if they want to “Save Overnight.” Once agreed, the YouTube app will schedule the video to be pushed offline during the off-peak nighttime hours when the user is asleep. This new feature only works with video downloads or viewed over cellular networks.
Nevertheless, it’s worth stressing here is that this YouTube’s Smart Offline will only work when connected to a compatible mobile network – it definitely won’t be working over Wi-Fi.
For now, YouTube Smart Offline is limited to Airtel and Telenor customers but Google say it hopes to introduce the feature nationwide “eventually”. And the feature won’t be available to everyone in India yet the far moment.
As the Google India blog notes: “Since we launched YouTube offline in 2014, we’ve seen you bid bye bye to the buffering wheel and take your favorite videos offline to enjoy in areas of low or no internet connectivity. Thanks to this popular feature, you’ve effectively saved money by watching your favorite videos many times over without a data connection.”
Do you watch YouTube videos offline?
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