YouTube Go, part of Android Go for low-cost Android phones, is now available on all South African Android devices. Key features include the option to download content using as little data as possible for offline play, and the ability to share videos with friends – without using data. The price of data is huge issue in South Africa, so Google’s answer is YouTube Go, tailored for the African continent that we saw in the first wave of Android Go devices.

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The YouTube Go app is a watered down version of the regular app, with popular/trending videos being watched in SA appearing on the very basic home page. Users can also choose the quality of the stream on the Go app, unlike in the regular one.

There are no unnecessary extras on the homepage like playlists; just search for what you want to watch, and choose what quality you’d like to see it in, before downloading. This applies to select content available for offline play, and not for example, music videos that are copyright.

Users are able to see exactly how much data will be used before downloading content. Here’s an example of a 15:20 long video, available on the Samsung Galaxy Note9:

The three options to download videos are basic, standard, and high quality; with the option to share the video with a friend. As you can see above, the exact size of the video is shown so you have better control of your data. For sharing, both users need to have the YouTube Go app and be logged in to send and receive videos from each other. Offline play content should last approximately 30 days, according to Mich Atagana, of Google South Africa. 

Google South Africa’s CMO Mzamo Masito says, “With YouTube Go, we want to make it possible for everyone in South Africa to be able to discover and share videos that they love regardless of their data consumption preference. We understand the unique challenges – connectivity, cost and social models – faced by South Africans and users in other emerging economies. YouTube Go was created on the back on our understanding of these issues.”

“People in South Africa love YouTube,” says 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 Wifi. Now, the app is much lighter and nimbler, and you won’t have to wait for videos to load or buffer forever. The experience will be delightful in low, no, or good connectivity situations,” says Masito.