After launching YouTube Go in India about a year ago, Google is in the process of rolling out YouTube Go to more than 130 countries. While the app may not yet be available in your country, the chance is good that it will become available eventually.
YouTube Go is a lightweight application especially when you compare it to the regular YouTube application for Android.
But there is more to YouTube Go than that. Designed for limited or slow data connections, YouTube Go allows users to watch or download videos, and share videos with friends that are nearby without using data.
That’s an interesting feature, without doubt, as you could download a bunch of videos you are interested to your device to play them at a later point in time. Useful before you take a flight halfway across the world, or live in an area with bad Internet connectivity.
Why I won’t use YouTube Go
YouTube Go sounds like a nice idea on paper: use it to download videos for later viewing, and share these videos with nearby friends who use the app as well without using data.
My main issue with the application is that it requires you to enter your phone number on the first start. This phone number is associated with your Google account, and used by the app to scan your mobile contacts regularly to find contacts that use YouTube Go as well.
Even if I don’t plan on sharing videos with anyone, I’m forced to enter a valid phone number and Google will scan the list of contacts on the phone regularly on top of that.
I don’t want Google to associate a phone number with a Google account just so that I can use an application, and I most definitely don’t want the company to scan the contacts on my phone regularly.
Privacy is the main reason; functionality is another. YouTube Go comes without search option which means that you are limited to “top” videos that Google provides. At least, that was the case back last year, but it seems unlikely that this changed in the meantime.
A much better way, from a privacy perspective, would have been to let users use the application without a phone number, or let users skip the step so users can check out the app before they make a decision.
Now You: Do you use apps that require a phone number?