In Short: YouTube for Android now has a beta channel, as Google has rolled out an official Play Store beta program for this application. You can now become YouTube’s beta tester on Android as you would for any other app, head over to the Google Play Store, located the YouTube app, and scroll down until you see the beta section. If the beta section is not yet visible to you via the Play Store, as it is not for us, you can head over to Google’s official website, and enroll there, here’s a link. YouTube has now joined a number of other Google applications which already have a beta channel, like Gboard and Chrome, for example. That’s not the only piece of YouTube-related news, as YouTube Go app has now reached 100 million downloads in the Play Store. An app which got announced back in 2016 and was rolled out to India at first, now managed to reach 100 million downloads in the Play Store.
Background: YouTube Go was announced in September 2016, and it became available in November of 2017. The app quickly hit 10 million downloads, and in February this year, it expanded to 130 countries, so it’s not exactly surprising that it managed to hit 100 million downloads now. Do keep in mind that these numbers include phones that the app comes pre-installed to, so basically, every Android Go smartphone out there has this app pre-installed, which is also included in these official numbers. Also, when you open the regular YouTube app in the Play Store, you will see a suggestion for YouTube Go, which probably helped the app become so popular. YouTube Go app weighs less than 10MB which is nowhere close to the regular YouTube app, while this app also allows you to watch content offline, if you cache them. You can choose whether you want to watch videos in basic, standard or high-quality modes, while some other options are also available. The design of the app is a bit different than what the regular YouTube app has to offer, but it’s still quite recognizable that we’re looking at another YouTube app here. Do keep in mind that this app is meant to be used on lower-end devices, so it may not be available to your device, and its unavailability may also be related to your location, on top of that.
Impact: It remains to be seen how will Google use this beta channel for YouTube, will users get actual updates, or will Google roll out server-side changes, as it does on some of its other applications. It would be nice if Google actually rolled out a new feature in a proper way and allowed beta testers to help the company out before pushing them to the stable version, that’s for sure. As far as YouTube Go is concerned, it will be interesting to see if its growth will continue, as it’s quite a compelling app in its own regard, and needless to say, a lot lighter than the regular YouTube app, while it comes with some options that the regular YouTube app does not have.