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YouTube users in India can now download videos overnight within the mobile app by taking advantage of cheaper or discounted data packs available during late night hours or non-peak hours. The ‘Smart Offline’ feature, which was launched last week is available for users on Airtel and Telenor networks initially, while YouTube India says that it will extend the feature with more operators eventually.

Note that the feature works on cellular data and not on Wi-Fi networks. While viewing a video on the YouTube app, users can tap on a grey arrow button to save the video offline; a prompt window will appear, asking the user to select “Save overnight” using discounted night data plan. When confirmed, the YouTube app will schedule the video to be downloaded after peak hours when data rates are cheaper or discounted.

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Not all videos are available offline: A similar feature for saving videos offline through the YouTube mobile app was launched in India in 2014. At that time, YouTube said that the feature was aimed at saving data billing by allowing users to watch videos many times over without a data connection. The offline feature is not available across all videos yet, although much of the popular YouTube content in India is available for offline viewing. This includes videos from partners like T-series, Saregama, Yashraj Films and others.

YouTube introduces messaging on app
Last month, YouTube had introduced a new messaging feature called native sharing. The feature was launched for a select group of users who can then invite friends into conversation threads. The message threads will stay on YouTube’s mobile app on a new tab. Users can send and receive YouTube videos within the app rather than copying and pasting links as a text message.

Recent YouTube developments

–Last month, YouTube said it is working on a new service called Unplugged which will stream cable TV packages for a fee. The service is expected to launch in 2017.

–In the same month, YouTube was also looking to take on the music industry by developing musical talent through an initiative called “Foundry”. YouTube is in talks with peers in the music industry to discuss closer collaboration.

– YouTube introduced a new 6 second video ad format dubbed Bumper ads, to increase the reach and frequency of ads on mobile devices. The ads would be sold through Google AdWords on a cost per thousand impression (CPM) basis beginning next month. Since the ads will be just six seconds long, consumers are unlikely to have the option to skip them.

-In April, Google launched YouTube Gaming service on Android and iOS mobile apps in India. The company had launched the app in August last year starting with the US and UK.

– In January, YouTube added donations cards to the platform, letting YouTube users donate to US non profit organisations.