Facebook is reportedly testing a new feature called Instant Videos aimed at users with slow or costly data connections, that would enable them to download or cache clips on their phones for future consumption offline.
Pre-loaded videos saved over Wi-Fi will be denoted with lightning bolt icons at the top right-hand corner of the player, according to Techcrunch — which notes that the pilot test, among a small percentage of Android users, arrives as Facebook has rolled out Watch, its new video platform for episodic shows.
And given that Facebook told Techcrunch that “the goal is to remove data costs as a barrier to watching its videos,” Instant Videos is similar to YouTube Go, the video giant’s offline-first standalone app that has been deployed in developing countries with spotty mobile connection speeds like India, Nigeria, and Indonesia. Instant Videos could also be popular among American users in instances when mobile data is unavailable, such as while on the subway or in an airplane.
Instant Videos follows in the footsteps of Instant Articles — a feature launched by Facebook in 2015 that caches select written posts to mobile devices from participating publishers — like The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and BBC News — so that they load eight times faster than other articles.
Check out a screenshot of the rumored feature, courtesy of The Next Web’s Matt Navarra, right here:
Facebook Instant Videos coming soon? ⚡️
h/t Devesh Logendran pic.twitter.com/rNZYkbeL2r
— Matt Navarra ⭐️ (@MattNavarra) September 11, 2017