YouTube has begun testing a new video sharing feature, rolling it out exclusively to Canadians, whom it calls “leaders when it comes to sharing”.
What’s interesting here is that Google has not chosen to integrate YouTube sharing in other apps, but rather has turned the video app into yet another chat service.
Before this, sharing was limited to opening a separate app to send the chosen piece of content with. It seems the YouTube team finds this unnecessarily cumbersome, and as a result has chosen to bake a messaging platform right into the app.
The feature is enabled for logged-in users only and prompts first-time users to add people as contacts. From then on, sharing a video opens a list of contacts and a message field on top of the current screen, from which the user chooses people to add in a group. Shared videos are also playable right from the chat screen.
While some people may be unhappy with this addition due Google’s tendency to fragment their user base into multiple chat apps (see: Allo, Duo, Hangouts), this does not appear to be exactly the same case: this is explicitly marketed as a feature for sharing video, rather than a messaging platform, and as a result caters to a completely different use case.
While the new feature is rolling out to Canadians only, users from different countries can unlock it by being on the receiving end of a shared video. To accommodate the new platform, the YouTube app has added a new, fifth tab in the main user interface.
The feature should be available for both iOS and Android users shortly.