Sharing YouTube videos with your friends just got a whole lot easier — provided you live in Canada or know somebody who does. The company’s new messaging service, which has been invite-restricted since May, is now live for all Canadian users of the app on iOS and Android. With the update, users can share videos in private conversations for the first time entirely within the app, instead of having to rely on other social platforms.
Up until now, the only way to use the new sharing method was to be part of the small group included in the testing phase or to be invited by a friend. This is no longer the case in the Great White North. Users elsewhere, on the other hand, will still need friends who already have the capability to share a video with them if they want to get in on the action.
The process works like this: Tap the share button, and in addition to all of the typical options, a new tab at the top will list contacts. Select the relevant parties or a pre-existing thread if you’ve already created one, add some words if you wish, and send away. Much like traditional comments on YouTube, messages will display around a smaller window containing the video, so users may interact as they watch.
Google chose Canada as the first territory for widespread release because of the country’s affinity for YouTube. Canadians apparently share video 15 percent more often than the average user globally, according to the company.
Embedding a method of private communication within the app is a smart move for YouTube. Despite claiming the title of the internet’s largest video service with more than 1 billion users, the company typically sees its content distributed on external networks like Facebook and Twitter, not to mention a litany of messaging platforms like WhatsApp, iMessage, and even Google’s own Hangouts and Allo. It’s little surprise the video giant wants to keep users home and capitalize on the sharing of that content as frequently as its rivals already do.