India is a key market for YouTube and this is why the company has introduced several features to enhance the visual experience for the Indian users in the recent past, a top company executive has said. YouTube released a beta version of the “YouTube Go” app in Google Play Store in India. The app, released after months of expanded testing and refinement, will be released in other emerging markets later. Also Read - YouTube to add new audio features in coming months: List of featuresAlso Read - YouTube to block and remove all anti-vaccine information
According to Jay Akkad, Product Manager at YouTube, “one thing that we really wanted is to take the platform further to reach a wider set of audience — the audience which is coming online for the first time and who have lower speed data plans. To cater to them, we launched ‘YouTube Go’.”
“Since ‘Google for India’ event in September last year, we have been expanding the pool of users that have access to the app. It has been a good six-month journey where we learned a lot from the users and then worked on various aspects of the product,” Akkad told IANS. “We will launch the app in one city first and after the feedback, we will work to launch it in more cities,” he added.
When asked about the response of Indians who have gone through the beta version of the product, Akkad said the response has been positive. “We received the feedback regarding how we can make it more effective and engaging. We have received multiple feedbacks and have tried to include all that in the app,” Akkad noted.
YouTube has spent a huge amount of time at its India R&D centre for developing the app. “We went to 15 different cities. In general, someone from our team was always in India talking to users and learning about what’s going on,” Akkad said, adding that the app has been conceptualised keeping in mind the four principles that the Indian audiences care about.
The app provides a fresh and relevant video recommendation tailored to one’s preferences. It is designed to be offline first and improve the experience of watching videos on a slower network. The app gives users more control over data usage by providing choice and transparency into the amount of data spent on streaming or saving videos. It allows users to share videos quickly and easily with friends nearby.
“YouTube Go” home screen features trending and popular videos in an area so that a user can find and discover videos that his/her community cares about.
On “YouTube Go”, a user can see a preview of the video when he/she taps on a thumbnail, giving a better sense of what the video is about. A user can also choose to save a video for offline viewing later. Johanna Wright, Vice President (Product Management) at YouTube, in September announced that “YouTube Go” has an easy user interface, works on low connectivity and cuts cost in data usage.
Akkad said that when it came to cut the cost, the developers focused on both the aspects — the use of data while watching a video and predictability of how much data is being used. Based on browsing history, patterns and languages, the new app will also serve 10 new videos every week.