A little earlier this week, we got some news from Google about a forthcoming feature for its YouTube mobile apps, where they’d be gaining the ability to cache videos for offline play. Considering all the stink Google has been making about Microsoft’s efforts to side-step YouTube rules – and specifically some of those concerning downloading clips – this was quite the surprising development. However, the announcement was seriously light on specifics, and while it was clear this feature was coming, we still didn’t know how long the “short period” we’d be able to save videos for would last, nor if this would work equally well for all clips. While the full picture isn’t yet clear, we’ve heard a lot of new details that help expand on what we know about this change.
For starters, it’s emerged that videos will be able to be cached to phones for 48 hours following download. Beyond that, users will have to get back online and check-in with YouTube in order to continue watching. And don’t think that going offline will save you from advertising – in-stream ads will be cached, as well.
By default, all YouTube videos will support this mode, though Google’s giving content creators the opportunity to manually withdraw support, whether for individual videos or their entire libraries.
However, some stuff just won’t work: any shows or movies your purchased through YouTube (or Google Play, for that matter) can’t be cached via this feature. There’s also the concern that some high-value content, like music videos tied to major labels, might be off the table right from the moment this ability rolls out.
Still, it generally sounds pretty promising, and 48 hours should be plenty enough to keep your phone full of entertaining content for a weekend away in the wilderness.