Youtube’s new “offline first” product for India treats telcos as damage and routes around them #1yrago

Posted on Friday, October 6th, 2017 at 17:16

Yesterday, Google announced “Youtube Go,” an “offline first” version of the popular video service designed for the Indian market where internet coverage is intermittent, provided by monopolistic carriers that have a history of network discrimination, and where people have a wide variety of devices, including very low-powered ones.

(Let’s pause a moment here and note that this description of the Indian internet/tech situation could just as easily describe the US situation!)

The idea of Youtube Go is that users can choose to download their videos in one place (like the office or home, where they have unmetered or cheap broadband) and watch those videos somewhere else (out and about on mobile internet). The service treats bandwidth as precious, letting you preview videos before you download them, and letting you default to low resolutions for expensive network contexts.

Most interesting of all is that the service allows users to share their downloaded videos with one another, using peer-to-peer distribution over unmetered, device-to-device Bluetooth networks. This is nothing short of amazing, because it represents the worst nightmare of the media companies that Youtube is so desperate to partner with that they’ve press-ganged Google into breaking the web to suck up to them.

Google is locked in a deathmatch with network providers around the world; these companies want to hold their customers to ransom and use them to blackmail the companies whose services those customers value into paying bribes for “premium carriage.” A future in which carriers get to pick the winners online is deadly for Google, because they’d end up in a bidding war against Apple, Facebook, etc, whose massive capitalization is an attractive nuisance to the carriers, who perceive an opportunity to raid those piggy banks.

But with enough capitalization, the internet companies can route around the carriers: they can build services like Google Fiber, and products like Youtube Go, assuming they can recruit the entertainment companies to join them in fighting the telcos. Entertainment companies sometimes are telcos, thanks to mergers like Comcast-Universal, so this is by no means assured.

This is amazing, now if only there were an easy way to peer-to-peer all comms in disaster areas, powercuts, war zones etc… until you found an unmetered connection to the Interwebs.

First phone company to build this functionality in will get my money. Even if its Apple .

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