Facebook is becoming more and more serious about video, to the point that it doesn't want the lack of mobile data to impede its users' watching habits.
The social media company is reportedly testing a brand-new feature that makes sure there's always something to watch — even with a spotty mobile connection. Called Instant Videos, the new feature will download videos in the background as long as the user is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Then, when scrolling through the app, videos won't buffer or take too long to load because they're technically already stored locally. Instant Videos was first spotted by The Next Web's social media director, Matt Navarra, but Facebook itself later confirmed its existence to TechCrunch, briefly explaining what it's for.
Facebook Is Testing Instant Videos: What Is It For?
Instant Videos have different purposes. First, it illustrates how much Facebook cares about video. The company only recently released the dedicated video tab to U.S. Facebook accounts. It's meant to be a platform for original shows sponsored by Facebook, in addition to various video content from media partners. What better way to push its video efforts further by making sure its users have constant, fast access to them?
Second, and most important, pre-downloading videos over Wi-Fi will save cellular data costs, and it might even encourage viewing Facebook videos when on mobile. Some people, especially those under strict data usage plans, are often wary of using their mobile data willy-nilly, because they don't want to be surprised with their phone bill at the end of the month. Having the videos already there means watching them won't eat into a user's data plan.
Facebook Instant Videos: Availability
Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that it's now testing Instant Videos with a select percentage of users using the Android app. There's still no indication as to when or if this feature will roll out widely. At present, it's all pretty vague, since it's not clear whether the new feature only works with videos found on the News Feed or also includes ones on the dedicated Facebook Watch tab.
The feature might not work on phones without extra storage to spare, however. To save videos, users obviously would need to have plenty of storage available. It's also not clear how Facebook plans to delete the videos since they obviously can't be stored on a user's device forever. Whether this is a feature one could simply choose to opt out or not also remains to be determined.
Do you like the idea behind Instant Videos? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!