YouTube announced a new addition to its app to help make it easier to share videos. You’ll now be able to direct message any videos on the site to friends and family through private conversations.
Prior to the update, users would have to send videos to another person by copying and pasting the link into another messaging platform. Starting Monday, August 7, you can send and receive videos by sending them directly to someone. You can also carry on a conversation, send emojis, reply with another video, and invite others to join in on the group chat.
All your existing conversations can be accessed in a new tab called “Shared” on the YouTube mobile app. To start using it, you’ll have to invite your friends from your contacts via SMS or by sending an invitation link through a social network, email, or messaging app.
The format looks a lot like Instagram’s direct message feature. If there’s a video you’d like to send, simply tap on the arrow below the video and a list of contacts will show up. You can either send it directly to one person or select multiple people — up to 30 — to create a group chat. You can also include a message before sending it in the text box available underneath the list of people you’re sending it to.
The new feature is similar to Google Messenger — later rebranded as Android Messages. The app allows you to communicate with anyone by using SMS and MMS, among others. You can send group texts along with pictures, audio messages, and videos without having to leave to exit the app.
The goal with YouTube’s new feature is apparent — keep users watching videos and engaging on the platform. Rather than having to switch back and forth between apps only to send videos, the sharing option lets you send an unlimited amount to all your friends by tapping a button. It might actually keep you on the app longer than planned.
The company has been testing the feature since last year, and rolled out the beta version to users in Canada this past January. YouTube’s blog post explains that after receiving feedback it performed further tweaks before releasing the final product. The YouTube update is gradually rolling out globally on Android and iOS.