Data is expensive here in Zimbabwe but you just cannot stop people from watching their YouTube videos. According to SimilarWeb, YouTube is the most visited site in the land. Where are Zimbabweans getting the data to log hours upon hours in YouTube? It is a mystery. With YouTube this important to us, any changes made to the user experience on the site warrant discussion.
The changes we have today are coming to the mobile application which is even more important as over 98% of all active internet subscriptions in Zimbabwe are on mobile, according to Potraz. This means most of us access the internet on our phones mostly.
Google is testing speed controls in the Android app. This means, just like on the desktop client you can choose to play videos at different speeds, from 0.25x to 2x. This is huge. I myself often play TED Talks at 1.25x on my desktop to cut on the time I spend on a video thereby watching more videos in the time allocated to YouTube. If you play a 30 minute video at 1.25x it will take 24 minutes, only 20 minutes at 1.5x and a time saving 15 minutes at 2x.
If you use YouTube as a research tool and not just for viral cat videos then you know how crucial speed controls are. Not all content can be sped up without affecting comprehension obviously (music, duh), but most educational and tutorial videos can. Speed controls are like being given the tools to extend your day, watch more content and learn more.
As stated above this feature is still in testing and so is not available to everyone just yet. When you finally get it, you can access it by tapping on the 3-button menu in the top right corner after first clicking on the video you want to watch. It is simply titled ‘speed.’ See it in action here. Being a test, it may never get to production meaning we might not get the speed controls after all but it makes no sense for them not to give us this nifty little feature. Fingers crossed it is rolled out globally soon.
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