Youtube launches offline video-viewing service

Video sharing website Youtube has launched an offline viewing service to help users download videos they could watch later, to overcome handicaps posed by low bandwidth and high data costs, India Today reported.

Under the service, which went live in India, Indonesia and the Philippines on Thursday, a user can click an icon on the site either when he is in a WiFi zone or a place with good data connectivity, and download a video for viewing later.

Users can watch the downloaded videos as many times within 48 hours. YouTube has protected advertiser's interests through an innovation that allows advertisements to appear before a playback of the video, like it would for online usage.

According to the US-based internet entertainment giant, a large number of videos were already available and the company was speaking to more content partners to opt for the service.

Once the device connected back to the internet, analytics around the number of times the video was watched would be transferred to the YouTube servers.

Already, there are a slew of applications available online which allow users to download videos for offline viewing, though Google India's managing director Rajan Anandan stresses that this was illegal and amounted to piracy.

He said that growth of mobiles had resulted in a situation where there was large user base, estimated to touch 300 million by year-end, but India was "starved" for bandwidth while the data plans too were pricey, making it tough to watch videos seamlessly.

Meanwhile, reported that a download button, once pressed, prompted users to download the video in two qualities – standard and high definition. The size for the video was also displayed along with quality so that users could determine the data usage and store space before downloading the video.

The video content is from some popular entertainment and music companies like T-Series, Saregama and Yashraj Films.

Google further announced that it planned to keep finding ''better ways'' to make video content more ''affordable and accessible'' to its growing base of YouTube mobile users in India.