YouTube apps on various platforms already allow you to download some videos for offline viewing but those who use browsers have always had to rely on third-party tools and sites. That is about to change soon as YouTube is currently testing a feature that allows users to be able to download videos in Chrome for offline viewing.
Those who are eligible for the current experiment which will run until October can visit youtube.com/new and sign up to take part in the experiment.
YouTube download tools are not going anywere
YouTube has fought against third party download tools and stream-ripping sites for years now. They are probably hoping this feature will provide a more ethical way for those who want to save videos on their laptops and other computers to be able to do so instead of relying on sketchy sites that sometimes come with malware and annoying popups. Hopefully, this feature will be rolled out to the wider public.
The truth though is that tools like Youtube-dl and Ktube are probably not going away anytime soon. This new download feature will probably come with the same restrictions as those in YouTube’s official mobile apps. Videos downloaded the official way can only be played back within the app (here browser) that made the download and if you don’t go online regularly they expire. Also, only a select, relatively small proportion, of videos can be downloaded.
These restrictions probably will not bother the casual downloader who just wants to save a video for later offline viewing when there is no internet. Pirates will probably not put up with these sorts of restrictions. Even ordinary users might find the limits stifling. So don’t expect download tools and stream-ripping sites to go away anytime soon.