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YouTube Mobile To Allow Offline Viewing with a Catch



youtube new logoThere’s a lot of great content on YouTube and sometimes you just wish you could download a video and keep it to watch whenever you want. Well, keep wishing, that’s not what this announcement is all about.

Here’s the YouTube Creator Blog talking about the new feature:

We’re always exploring ways to bring more viewers to your content. As part of this effort, later this year we’ll launch a new feature on YouTube’s mobile apps that will help you reach fans — even when they’re not connected to the Internet.

This upcoming feature will allow people to add videos to their device to watch for a short period when an Internet connection is unavailable. So your fans’ ability to enjoy your videos no longer has to be interrupted by something as commonplace as a morning commute.

This is part of our ongoing updates to give people more opportunities to enjoy videos and channels on YouTube mobile. Check out the YouTube blog when this launches in November for more details on how this will work for viewers.

Hmm…that’s a very low-key announcement for such a big, new feature. I guess they’ll blow it out when the feature actually goes live. Right now, I’m left with questions. First up, how long is a “short period”? Second, what happens after the “short period”? Does the video disappear from your mobile queue? Library ebook rentals work like that. You download the book to your device but at the end of the rental period, you’re locked out. I don’t know how it works, but it does.

I’m guessing this video download option will work the same way. You’ll have access for a few days (?) and then you’ll get a warning message, gently reminding you that you’ve pushed your luck. Time’s up, man. Pick another video.

For content creators, this is a nice little option. If I can download the latest installment from my favorite channel to watch while I’m on the train to work, I’ll do it. And I’ll do it regularly. This is the kind of thing that can become a habit and consumer habits are great for business.

In case you missed it, YouTube recently added the ability to keep browsing while a video plays in the corner of your screen. It’s another feature that makes YouTube more like cable TV. Personally, I find it annoying. If I’m watching a video, I want to WATCH it, not listen to it while it plays in a tiny box in the corner of the app. If you have a short attention span, then it’s the perfect feature for you.

Are you using YouTube more for yourself or your business? Tell us about your experience in the comment box below.