New data-light YouTube app launches in South Africa

YouTube has announced that it has launched its new ‘data-light’ version of the platform, YouTube Go, in South Africa.

YouTube Go is lighter version of the YouTube app, built from the ground up to cater for audiences with slower connections or for those who are conscious of their data use amid high data prices.

It features a simple user interface, allowing people to easily access their favourite videos, and has been built with an ‘offline first’ philosophy so that it works even when there’s low or no connectivity.

“YouTube Go provides transparency in how users are using their data, allowing them to reduce their data consumption. It also provides a social experience, connecting users with the people and content they care about,” the group said.

It gives users a home screen that shows trending and popular videos nearby, allowing them to see the latest content that the people around them are watching and sharing, upfront. It offers a ‘preview video’ function to make it easier for users to decide what they want to watch.

Users can save videos for offline watching, and can choose what resolution video to save – low quality or standard quality – giving them better control over how they use their precious data. Unlike in the main YouTube app, users can choose what resolution to stream videos in – low or standard.

The app also lets users wirelessly transfer videos to nearby devices, without using any data.

“People in South Africa love YouTube,” said Google Africa chief marketing officer, Mzamo Masito, “but the current app is too data-heavy for it to be usable to most viewers, who don’t have high speed and large capacity data plans, or free Wi-Fi.”

“Now, the app is much lighter and nimbler, and you won’t have to wait for videos to load or buffer forever.”

YouTube Go is available for download in the Google Play store and will come pre-installed on all Android 8.1 (Go Edition) phones.

Read: Google results impress on YouTube and cloud growth

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New data-light YouTube app launches in South Africa