YouTube Go is going away

YouTube Go on a handset
(Image credit: Future)

After six years and 500 million downloads, the YouTube team has announced that it will be discontinuing its YouTube Go app this August.

The reason for this discontinuation is that YouTube doesn’t see the app as necessary anymore. YouTube Go was originally created as a stripped version of the base YouTube app designed specifically for places with poor data infrastructure or expensive connectivity. 

Users were able to download videos if they had a poor connection, preview them before watching, and change MB usage to control video quality. What you couldn’t do was comment or create videos on YouTube Go.

Countries like India had access to YouTube Go while nations with a more established internet, like the US, didn’t. But with advancements in phone performance and growing infrastructure, YouTube Go has been deemed unnecessary. 

In return, the YouTube Team recommends YouTube Go users install the main app or visit the website via a mobile web browser to continue using their service.

Android Go still lives

The discontinuation of YouTube Go may be the first domino in a cascading effect across the different types of hardware and apps under the Go umbrella.

For starters, the Android Go series of smartphones may be in jeopardy. These low-power, data-sipping phones were created as cheap alternatives to other Android phones.

Granted, Google did recently announce a Go edition for its Android 12 mobile OS. Compared to its eleventh iteration, Android 12 (Go edition) launches up to 30 percent faster and automatically hibernates apps to extend a phone’s battery life.

So there’s still a chance for the hardware side of the Go series, but the software may be a different story.

Uncertain future

Google has several other Go versions of their well-known apps, like Gmail Go and Maps Go. Some of them boast large download numbers rivaling YouTube Go and still see frequent updates.

YouTube Go’s last update was in October 2021 while apps like Google Assistant Go saw an update on May 2, 2022, for example. But less-popular apps like Gallery Go last saw an update in November 2021.

Google hasn’t commented on the status of the other Go apps, but their future is now a little less certain.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.