Come November, the YouTube iOS and Android apps will let you view clips that you stored while you were connected to the Net later on. It’s a small technical move, but it represents quite a big shift in how Google lets users access its content, which the company had guarded previously.
Last year Google let users of its Android mobile app watch cached videos as long as you still had an Internet connection. But now Google says that you’ll be able to store and watch videos for viewing offline, like when you’re commuting or perhaps flying, for “a short time.”
There’s no specification as to what that means in actual hours, but the change still required Google notify its YouTube content suppliers–which presumably includes professional content creators as well as your typical home video uploaders–of the change. For all sorts of reasons, many of which you may decide are silly or anti-consumer, some entities see streaming of content as very different from remote downloading and storing of the same content, no matter how temporary.
Disquiet about streaming music rights, for example, was said to be behind the delayed U.S. launch of Spotify. YouTube’s new move is to make its apps more consumer-friendly, presumably in hopes of keeping viewers using YouTube to view content instead of having them look elsewhere.