YouTube offline - coming soon, but not for all videos

There was good news this week for YouTube fans who just can’t stand it when they’re unable to watch the latest cute puppy video because they don’t have an Internet connection.

In a low-key announcement, the Google-owned service said it plans to add a feature to its mobile app, later this year, that will let you download video to your phone or tablet and watch it later when you’re offline.

But you may not be able to watch that Miley Cyrus video offline.  According to a memo obtained by Peter Kafka at All Things D, YouTube has told commercial partners that they can “opt out” of the new feature. And as Variety reported Friday, the music video service Vevo says it won’t be participating in the new YouTube feature.

Vevo is a major provider of music video clips for YouTube, with channels for popular artists including Ms. Cyrus, Lil Wayne, One Direction and Rihanna.  The company didn’t give a reason for its decision, but Variety suggested it may be related to Vevo’s contractual agreements with music labels.

Still, the new feature sounds like it could come in handy, if you really need to watch “Charlie Bit My Finger” or even more serious fare on a park bench, or on a plane. YouTube says you’ll be able to use its mobile app to save videos on your device  for up to 48 hours and watch them even when you’re offline.

The service will be free, but the offline videos may still contain ads.  And YouTube has said the new feature won’t work for movies or TV episodes that it currently rents and sells.

(Image of Korean pop singer Psy and friends from YouTube.com) 

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (350 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.