YouTube Go was first announced in 2016 as a lightweight Android app that’s optimized for lower-end hardware and constrained cellular connectivity. YouTube announced today that it was shutting down the Go app “beginning in August.”
The main YouTube app is the intended replacement, with the website also touted, as Google has made various optimizations to the primary client in recent years. And, more are coming:
Specifically, we have improved performance for entry-level devices or those that watch YouTube on slower networks. We’re also building out additional user controls that help to decrease mobile data usage for viewers with limited data – so stay tuned for more updates!
As such, a dedicated app is no longer needed, especially a Go client that lacked the “ability to comment, post, create content, and use dark theme.” In fact, YouTube Go was last updated in October 2021, so the writing was on the wall. It currently has over 500 million installs.
When we launched YouTube Go in 2016, it was designed for viewers in locations where connectivity, data prices, and low-end devices prevented us from delivering the best experience in the main YouTube app.
In six years alone, Android phone specifications have improved across the board. YouTube — as a developer with a large global audience to consider — finding that it no longer needs a basic version of its app is a good thing for the platform.
However, it does raise questions about the state of Android Go and its need in the future. In the short term, Android 12 (Go edition) was detailed in December as bringing a UI redesign, faster app launch times, guest access, and other features. Other remaining Go variants include Google (Search), Assistant, Maps, Navigation, Gmail, and Gallery.
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