Google has announced that it is discontinuing its YouTube Go app in August 2022. The search giant is recommending users to install the main YouTube app, or access the streaming service using mobile browsers.
We need to travel back in time, to understand the importance of the app. In 2014, Google surprised users by partnering with OEMs around the world, when it announced Android One. It offered a stock Android experience without custom skins, and in a world where ads and bloatware on devices was a common thing, this was a boon. The lighter version of Android was perfect for the mid-range market, and was quite popular until Google abandoned the effort in 2020.
In 2017, Google introduced an even lighter version of its mobile operating system called, Android Go. This was designed with ultra-affordable devices in mind, especially for countries where access to high-speed internet was considered a luxury. However, the hardware restrictions, such as low RAM and weak processors on low-end phones, meant that apps couldn’t run properly on Android Go. This is when Google introduced more optimized versions of its apps including YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Assistant Go, and Gallery Go. These highly optimized apps could run efficiently on low-end hardware. Among other things, the YouTube Go app allowed users to download videos and watch them offline. The app also had a data saver mode to control the amount of data that was used for streaming videos.
Now that YouTube Go is being shuttered, will it spell the end of Android Go too?
Why is YouTube Go being shuttered?
The Mountain View company says that it has optimized the performance of the main YouTube app to support low-end phones, and slow network connections. It also highlights options to comment, post videos, create content, and the dark theme as key features of the app, some things which were not available in its lighter counterpart. These are the reasons why YouTube Go is being discontinued, in favor of the regular app. The announcement, spotted by 9to5Google, reveals that Google is working on bringing some improvements for the YouTube app, that will further decrease its mobile data usage.
YouTube Go is no longer available on the Google Play Store. If you had downloaded it previously, you can still access it from the Store app. The media streaming app was last updated in October 2021.
Google ending support one of its products is nothing new, you can find a whole list of them on the Killed By Google website. As a matter of fact, the digital graveyard already lists YouTube Go as a product headed to its doom. Google Talk, Inbox by Gmail, and Picasa are perhaps the ones I miss the most. Google Chrome Apps are the next in line for removal, the company will end support for these in June 2022.
I can recommend the NewPipe app if downloading videos for offline playback is a priority for you. New entrants like LibreTube and SkyTube are fairly impressive as well. All three of these are open source, and have built-in ad blockers in addition to various features that you may find useful.
Do you use YouTube Go?
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