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YouTube vs YouTube Go: What’s the difference?

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  • 4 min read

Since its inception in 2005, YouTube has been by far by the most popular video-sharing platform ever created. Today it is used by billions of people who watch millions of hours of videos every day. Whether we want to learn to play an instrument or look up some recipes to cook, or even view study tutorials, YouTube has it all and more. 

However being able to watch these videos seamlessly without any interruption has been quite the struggle, especially in many rural parts of India, where there is little or no internet connectivity at all.

That was the case until two years ago when Google launched the YouTube Go app, which was created to enable users to watch all the same videos that we love smoothly and effortlessly on limited or low-speed networks. Google did this by trimming down the original app to a large extent.

But how exactly does the YouTube Go app defer from its older, more sophisticated sibling? And how does it manage to save data? We’ll talk about this and more below.

Also read: Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video vs Hotstar vs YouTube Premium

Less data usage and offline videos

The main motive behind engineering YouTube Go was to be able to watch videos while consuming minimal data. Every time you hit a video thumbnail in the app, you’re asked to choose from three different viewing qualities — Basic, Standard or High. Next to each quality option, you also get to see the amount of data that it will use and so you can choose as per your needs. The same goes for downloading videos offline, and the app will also display the amount of storage you have available and then you can choose the size and quality as required.

However, your phone needs to be connected to the Internet at least once in every 48 hours to 30 days (depending on your geolocation) to refresh the downloads on your device — not to worry; they aren’t downloaded again unless there has been a modification to the video. 

You can check out the download limit on YouTube, among a few other things in our article here.

Video sharing

Another feature unique to YouTube Go is video-sharing, which allows you to share videos with other YouTube Go users. Now I know what you’re thinking. You can share a video link with your friends using the YouTube app as well, right? Well, using YouTube Go, you can share the downloaded videos directly to another user’s phone, and they receive the video downloaded onto their phone. 

This sharing is done through the help of WiFi Direct and Bluetooth. Users tap the share icon, and the video gets shared seamlessly to their friend’s devices. It works in the same way one sends files using apps like ShareMe, and you don’t even need an active internet connection.

Basic interface

As mentioned above, the YouTube Go app has been stripped down to the bare minimum to take up the least amount of space on your phone. The app features only two tabs — Home and Downloads. There is no way for you to see your Subscription list, nor can you visit any of your favourite channels — just click and watch.

Only on Android

The YouTube Go app is only available for Android users. It is not available on the Apple App Store, nor is there any desktop version of the service available. You need an Android smartphone, and the cool part is it works on devices running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and upwards, so you can use it on your phone even it is a couple of years old, as well as Android Go phones.

Also, it is available only in a select few countries, and since it was designed keeping Indian users in mind, it was first launched here.

Also read: Spotify vs Amazon Music vs YouTube Music

Kelan Reay Baretto

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