One of the best things about a YouTube Red subscription is that you can download videos for viewing offline, but unfortunately, even watching YouTube videos can result in some pretty hefty data charges, especially in developing countries like India.
YouTube, however, has introduced a new feature that should help ease those charges. In India, many carriers offer discounted data rates during non peak hours — so, if you want to download a video, doing so late at night is the best time to do it to avoid extra data charges. Thanks to the new feature, called Smart Offline, you’ll be able to choose whether to download a video immediately or to “Save overnight.”
The feature is only available in India, and only to customers on certain carriers. It’s rolling out to customers on Airtel and Telenor starting today, but Google says that it hopes to bring the feature to all users and carriers in India. Also, the feature will only be available when users are connected to their data plans — it won’t appear on Wi-Fi. Finally, users will have to be running the latest version of the YouTube app.
The new feature comes around a year after Google first launched the ability to save videos offline in India, and it could certainly prove useful. Of course, it will require some forward planning, which somewhat goes against what YouTube is all about, but it’s a fair trade-off for no data fees.
Google has created a number of initiatives aimed at making it easier for people to manage their data, especially in developing nations. For example it has added a “data saver” mode to apps, and started rolling out an offline maps feature, which allows users to download maps on Wi-Fi to avoid using data. These two features have made their way to users all over the world.