Look out India! YouTube knows about your data woes. To take advantage of lower late night mobile rates and save you both time and money, YouTube is rolling out a new feature: Smart Offline. An expansion to the previous YouTube offline tool, which allows viewers to temporarily cache videos for later viewing, Smart Offline automatically downloads videos during off-peak hours.
In a recent company blog post, YouTube product manager Jessica Xu stated, Smart Offline “lets you takes advantage of these cheaper data rates as offered by your mobile operator, without requiring you to stay up late at night.” No more waiting for videos to buffer; your videos are ready to watch by the time you wake up. Currently, Smart Offline is only available to those subscribed to Airtel and Telenor but YouTube is optimistic about an eventual nationwide availability. Hopefully, Smart Offline will boost viewership in India and expand to mobile users in other regions.
Let’s take a step back. As noted above, YouTube launched an offline option in 2014 in India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Yeman and Algeria followed in 2015. The YouTube offline feature allowed the viewer to add his or her favorite talk show or local comedy to “Offline” to be watched later “during low or no internet connectivity.” Offline helped navigate around patchy data connections, speed and cost to give viewers up to 48 hours of buffer-free content.
What about other countries? YouTube Red subscribers — currently in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand — have access to an infinite amount of saved offline viewing.