New Youtube experiment downloads videos automatically


YouTube video experiments for premium subscribers are nothing new as the company has been making them available to paying members for a while. Just last month, just before Christmas, there was something called “Heatseaker” (yes, that’s how you spell it). This feature allowed you to see hotspots on the video scrubber where people were watching the most, so you could jump to the most interesting parts without agonizing through the other stuff.

While not widely available just yet, you might be able to try a new experiment called Smart Downloads now. First spotted by 9to5Google, this will be available on Android by February 14, 2022 and will “automatically download videos when your Android device is connected to Wi-Fi”.

Anyone who remembers the “offline mixtape” feature Youtube Music had a while ago will be familiar with smart downloads while live. Once activated, YouTube automatically selects 20 videos each week that may interest you based on your activity. The purpose of this is to give you something to watch while not connected to the internet and take the work out of choosing exactly what to download.

The main reason I think this is useful is that most people don’t expect to be disconnected unless they’re traveling to remote locations or catching a flight. There is no need to get bored in these blind spots.

Of course, your device must have enough storage available for Smart Downloads to work, and anyone with less storage will be notified that they must take additional steps to continue if the app attempts to select content in the background.

Once downloaded, you can access the videos offline in the Youtube app from the “Library” tab under the “Downloads” section. The experiment automatically disappears after the 14th and won’t reappear unless Google decides to launch it as a full-fledged feature for the video platform.

However, experiments often become features and the sole purpose of letting premium users try them is to collect feedback for implementation! Let me know if you find this useful, or will avoid it altogether if and if it ever officially launches.


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