Google announced the discontinuation of its YouTube Go app in August 2022. The search giant recommends users install the main YouTube app or access the streaming service using mobile browsers.
We need to travel in time, to understand the importance of the application. In 2014, Google surprised users by partnering with OEMs around the world when it announced Android One. It offered a standard Android experience without custom skins, and in a world where ads and bloatware on devices were commonplace, it was a godsend. The lite 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 with high-speed internet access. was considered a luxury. However, hardware restrictions, such as low RAM and weak processors on low-end phones, meant apps couldn’t run smoothly on Android Go. That’s 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 saving mode to control the amount of data used for streaming videos.
Now that YouTube Go is closed, will that also mean the end of Android Go?
Why is YouTube Go closed?
The Mountain View company claims to have optimized the performance of the main YouTube app to support low-end phones and slow network connections. It also highlights options for commenting, posting videos, creating content and dark theme as key features of the app, some things that weren’t available in its lighter counterpart. These are the reasons YouTube Go is being discontinued, in favor of the standard app. The announcement, spotted by 9to5Google, reveals that Google is working on improvements to the YouTube app that will further reduce its mobile data usage.
YouTube Go is no longer available on the Google Play Store. If you have already downloaded it, you can still access it from the Store app. The media streaming app was last updated in October 2021.
Google ending support for one of its products is not new, you can find a whole list of them on the Killed By Google site. In fact, the digital graveyard already lists YouTube Go as a doomed product. Google Talk, Inbox by Gmail and Picasa are perhaps the ones I miss the most. Google Chrome apps are the next to be phased out, the company will end support for them 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 also quite impressive. All three are open source and have built-in ad blockers in addition to various features you might find useful.
Do you use YouTube Go?