This week Google added another messaging feature, ‘YouTube shared,’ as part of the YouTube app. The company already has a bunch of social apps and features but adding one more in YouTube might just make sense.
Chapter 1: About YouTube ‘shared’ (00:35)
On Monday, YouTube added its new sharing feature, to its iOS and Android mobile apps. Share is already available in Canada, the country with the highest rates of YouTube video sharing.
This new capability allows users to share videos directly with contacts within the app. These group messages can contain up to 30 unique accounts and allow people to discuss and share videos and links within a chat window.
Where previously YouTube relied on other apps to share videos, users can now do it from within the YouTube app. With just three taps a video can be selected and shared with other users. However, since most users do not currently communicate through their YouTube accounts, invites must be sent to people a user wishes to add.
In effect “share” is more of a direct messaging capability than a sharing function.
Chapter 2: Do we need another messaging app from Google? (01:18)
With Android Messages, Allo, Duo, Hangouts Chat, Hangouts Meet, and Google Voice, another messaging platform centered around YouTube videos might seem unnecessary. Additionally, customers with other messaging apps such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Viber, and Skype may find yet another to be superfluous
The new functionality in the YouTube app contains standard chat features and adds some new ones. A user can respond in real time to messages while a video is playing. A playing video will remain visible at the top of the screen in a hover window as a user scrolls down. Missing from the new sharing function is the ability to use emojis in responses and co-viewing a video with friends. This feature is available in the experimental YouTube Uptime. These limitations mean there is little to differentiate YouTube share tab from the swath of messaging applications already available.
YouTube share’s primary draw is its ease of use. Though functionally the same as other share features, not having to copy the hyperlink or interrupt your texting thread makes sharing videos with your contacts much easier.
With the success of direct messaging apparent in other social media apps, how will Youtube’s fair?
Chapter 3: The story of the direct messaging (02:17)
Instagram direct messaging has been available since December 2013. The company delivered the feature soon after it cut its direct link to Twitter. Within a year, 85 million users from a total of 300 million were using the feature each month.
The Instagram direct message feature has been expanded to allow ongoing threaded conversations and is now a full-fledged messaging app. It has also helped Instagram boost the number of active users, which passed the 700 million user mark in April.
Instagram is just one example of how keeping the users within the app to share and discuss content can lead to an increase in active users. Snapchat, Twitter, and Reddit have been utilizing the same approach in their mobile apps.
YouTube remains the second most used mobile app and most popular video service in the world. Though it has many challenges to overcome, YouTube shared seems like a good method to keep users glued to the app.