As an update to the experiments it often offers in cycles, Youtube is allowing Premium subscribers to download videos directly from their browser! If you visit the Youtube homepage, you may be presented with the promotional banner for the feature found below. Alternatively, you can directly visit the experiments page and scroll down to toggle it on and try it out.
According to Team Youtube, you’ll need to be running the latest version of Chrome, Edge, or Opera in order to set this up, but once you’ve flicked the switch, all you’ll need to do is click the ‘Download’ button while watching a video. If you want to perform this action while browsing, the option will appear in the three dots ‘more’ menu to the right of each thumbnail.
Video downloading has traditionally been associated with Youtube piracy via ‘ripper’ tools found on the web, but if you want to download any videos for offline viewing without stealing original content, Google did make this possible years ago via the Youtube mobile app. Now having this on the web is pretty useful for those of us using Chromebooks who don’t necessarily want to use Google Play apps on a laptop.
After choosing a video or videos to download, you will see their progress as a notification at the bottom-left of your screen and can view them on your ‘Account downloads‘ page. Settings for their quality and management also appear here via a blue link near the top-right.
Please keep in mind that video downloads will only be available until October 19, 2021, before the feature experiment is taken away by the Youtube gods. If you’ve ever tried these out before, you’ll know that picture-in-picture mode for iOS is still available to try out until October 21, 2021. Previous experiments included voice search for Youtube on the web, filtering by topics in various languages, and even home screen watching on iOS. All of these features and more will likely be a native part of the Youtube experience so long as their tests are successful and they are popular with users. Let me know in the comments if there is an experiment you’d like to see the video streaming platform perform next!