It looks as if Google is close to releasing a new version of the YouTube app for Android, and those that like to tear APKs apart to see what’s inside over at Android Police have found some fairly interesting things inside.
There’s going to be some fairly subtle changes to the user interface, but perhaps more interesting are the new services and functions which could be on offer.
First up is Music Pass, which appears to be the working name for the upcoming YouTube subscription service. The features look to include offline playback (potentially of both music and videos), uninterrupted playback and access to millions of songs without ads. It does seem that this will be a paid service, similar to Play Music or Spotify, but unlike those two services, the inclusion of music videos as well could be pretty groundbreaking.
Offline playback (i.e. for enjoyment where there’s no mobile / Wi-Fi service available) seems like a great offering, and there’s background playback as well, suggesting that we’ll be able to listen to the audio track from music videos in the background while doing other tasks. Neat.
These things have been discovered by reading through the “strings.xml” file in a leaked YouTube 5.3 APK. While we don’t know how the service will work just yet, it does seem apparent that the offline playback will allow videos to expire after 48 hours or so (i.e. you can’t keep them forever), entire playlists can be saved for offline viewing, and there’s the same logic as the Play Music All Access service that allows background downloading when in an appropriate service area (i.e. Wi-Fi only if you wish).
If you can’t wait for the new version, you can grab the leaked APK from Android Police.
Note, though, that the new features aren’t actually enabled yet; they’re just included in the app for when the service might later be activated.