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Last Updated: November 28th, 2013

There's a new version of YouTube out, and as usual, hidden inside its chocolaty center are hints at upcoming features and capabilities. We've seen information about a lot of this stuff before, some of which has even been confirmed by Google itself. Aside from the user interface changes we mentioned in the announcement post, there are framework elements for the upcoming YouTube subscription service, "Uninterrupted Playback," an offline video mode, and background music listening.

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Take A Peek At Music Pass

The following strings in the 5.3 app look like they're intended to be used for a separate page or popup encouraging users to upgrade to "Music Pass," which we assume is the name for YouTube's upcoming subscription service. The text below describes several features in advertising bulletin fashion.

music_upsell_dialog.xml layout describes an upsell page/screen that uses these strings:

<string name="music_pass">Music Pass</string>

<string name="offline_playback">Offline playback</string>
<string name="offline_playback_details">Take your music everywhere</string>

<string name="background_listening">Background listening</string>
<string name="background_listening_details">Keep your music playing while using other apps</string>

<string name="uninterrupted_music">Uninterrupted music</string>
<string name="uninterrupted_music_details">No ads on millions of songs</string>

Offline playback (music? video? both?), background listening, "uninterrupted music," and "no ads on millions of songs" are all mentioned. No ads is obviously a component of the paid service, just like Google Play Music and the premium versions of Pandora and Spotify. But notice that it doesn't simply say "no ads," it's "no ads on millions of songs." It's likely that Google needed to negotiate the rights for the YouTube Music Pass service separately from Google Play Music since music videos are legally and commercially distinct from their songs. So does that mean that the service is truly ad-free, or that a portion of the songs and/or music videos on offer will have ads that further benefit the music labels? There's no way to know at the moment.

Also note that the offline playback and background listening are specifically mentioned in the context of Music Pass. It's possible that these features might be limited to paid subscribers. Again, there's no way to confirm or deny that with the information here.

These icons are used in the above music_upsell_dialog.xml layout, one for each feature:

ic_airplane ic_headphone ic_noads

ic_airplane.png (offline playback), ic_headphone.png (background listening), ic_noads.png (uninterrupted music)

More Hints At Offline Video Playback

The following strings are further indications that offline video playback is headed for the YouTube app very soon. The interesting components are bolded below: it looks like entire playlists can be cached locally for offline playback (assuming you've got the storage space, of course), though YouTube uploaders may be able to specify that their videos cannot be saved locally.

<string name="offline_failed">Error adding to offline</string>
<string name="offline_video_not_playable">Video is not playable</string>
<string name="offline_failed_disk_full">Disk full</string>
<string name="offline_failed_network_error">Network error</string>
<string name="offline_expired">Offline version expired</string>

<string name="video_already_added_to_offline">Video is already added to offline.</string>
<string name="cannot_watch_offline">This video can’t be watched offline</string>
<string name="add_to_offline_not_enough_space">Not enough space</string>
<string name="add_playlist_to_offline_start">Adding playlist to offline...</string>
<string name="playlist_already_added_to_offline">Playlist is already added to offline</string>
<string name="add_playlist_to_offline_error">Error adding playlist to offline</string>

<string name="offline_waiting">Waiting... %1$d%%</string>
<string name="offline_waiting_for_network">Waiting for network...</string>
<string name="offline_video_deleted">Deleted</string>
<string name="offline_playlist_adding_progress">Adding... %1$d/%2$d</string>
<string name="retry_offline">Retry</string>
<string name="retry_offline_video_confirmation">Retry adding to offline?</string>
<string name="remove_offline_playlist_confirmation">Remove from offline?</string>
<string name="offline_video_expired_confirmation">Offline version expired. Reconnect to check availability.</string>

The last string reinforces the 48-hour limitation on saved videos. There's an XML file labeled "pref_offline_storage_widget.xml," but we don't think it's a conventional homescreen widget, it's just a part of the upcoming user interface adjustments. Notice the references to a display for used and free storage space, and the option to save offline videos in 360p or 720p HD.

<string name="pref_offline_category">Offline</string>
<string name="pref_offline_quality_title">Quality</string>
<string name="pref_offline_network_policy_title">Add over Wifi only</string>
<string name="pref_offline_storage_title">Storage</string>
<string name="pref_offline_storage_used">%1$s used</string>
<string name="pref_offline_storage_free">%1$s free</string>

<string name="offline_video_quality_360p">Standard (360p)</string>
<string name="offline_video_quality_720p">HD (720dp)</string>

Other Bits And Pieces

We found a few other icons that we can't exactly place, but an educated guess says that the "ic_offline_error.png" is for problems stemming from saved videos, and "ic_offline_retry.png" lets you try the operation again.

ic_offline_error ic_offline_retry

"in_set_mix_pressed" looks like an icon for a YouTube playlist, either a pre-made playlist (like YouTube has now) or an auto-populated genre/style/artist playlist, like the radio stations in Google Play Music. "ic_set_shuffle_off.png" is self-explanatory.

image image

One last thing: a string reference to something called the "exo player." We've got no idea what this is - it might be the term for the background play function, or it could just be some internal reference for the app developers.

<string name="pref_developer_exo_player_title">ExoPlayer</string>

If you're still waiting on the YouTube 5.3 app to roll out to your device, we've got the APK right here.

Thanks to Artem Russakovskii and Santiago Rosales for putting in the legwork for this post.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Mert ÇELEN

    US only as always?

    • igoticecream

      i feel you bro

    • Amit

      Maybe this service will be international.
      YouTube is world wide so maybe this is the reason for 2 music services.

  • Sam Hollis

    Two music services. Wwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhy Google?

    • spacekobra

      Perhaps this one will be available in Canada.

      • DirkBelig

        NEVER!!!!

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      maybe it'll be like porn? Subscribe to one, get all 13.

      • Dominic Powell

        LOLOLOL

      • ddpacino

        LMAO!!

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      • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

        This.

      • p8

        lol

      • OnpointG3

        HAHA!

      • PornStarr

        hahhahahah

      • Unbreakable360

        Anyone that subscribes to porn is an imbecile lol

      • AkhilSood

        Haha, nice one.

      • escapology
    • Sergio

      Because everybody knows and uses youtube, which is not the case of Gmusic.

    • dilharo

      This one is free

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Seems like my wish for 1080p streaming and HD over 3G are never going to be fulfilled.

    • Tannen Skriver

      It will mostly likely never be fulfilled. 3G can't reliably support 1080p. It would be silly to implement it.

      • sluflyer06

        Really? Cause my friends on TMobile can get upwards of 25Mb on 3g.

        • My name is….

          yes, why not to stream 1080p and make it difficult for the neighboor to reah his mails?

        • Unbreakable360

          Location location location 3g is not as slow as ppl claim it all depends how close you are to network towers. My girl has a 4g phone and whenever it goes back down to 3g it's a lot faster

      • KoRRo

        there's a thing called buffering. i can't understand why i can't watch a 1080p youtube video on my 1080p nexus device.

        • Tannen Skriver

          After researching into 3G, it can get some pretty high speeds, higher than I had been expecting, albeit generally not reliably. While the raw speed that you may get from a speedtest server while on a 3G network may seem fast enough to support 1080p playback, I'd conclude that the network operators don't want to allow that much bandwidth to be consumed by a large audience of users at one time via a popular app, like YouTube, as it would significantly diminish the network experience for all of the users as a whole. 3G just doesn't have the robust speed capabilities to allow many users to be using the bandwidth required by 1080p without degrading the network experience. I for one didn't realize that 1080p streaming was blocked, though I do understand why it is; I have full bars of Verzion 4G around where I frequent, so I've never really thought about it.

  • @bleakneonblack

    Yeah, two music services is silly. I hope it's some sort of join program with Play Music. I shouldn't have to pay two separate fees to use two music services by the same company, even if one does have video. I don't know why anyone would choose this over Play Music, anyway.

    • J3R3MY_H

      Maybe because they have a chromecast and just want the hit songs and videos for when it's party time at their house?

      • Anthony James

        Notice the references to a display for used and free storage space, and the option to save offline videos in 360p or 720p HD.

    • Adrian Meredith

      tbh i think thats why its called "up sell". I think existing subscribers to play music will be able to "upgrade" to video streaming or new customers get both (at a higher cost presumably).

      • Justin W

        Hopefully both for somewhere around what we are already paying. I don't see the point of subscribing to both, but if I can get both videos and music with no ads for videos, I might do it.

    • ddh819

      might get a bundle discount

    • Unbreakable360

      Lol duh for videos but ads don't bother me at all so I'm good besides videos can be downloaded makes it easier to play on the go

  • Paul Taylor

    All good stuff - but I'll be a bit miffed if my Google Play Music All-Access doesn't count as a subscription for listening to ad-free music in the background on YouTube.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      We don't know if it does yet.

    • Matthew Fry

      Doubtful. Highly doubtful. We're talking about the music industry here. Also, if licensing fees trickle down to music video producers then it would need to be charged separately.

  • J3R3MY_H

    Play Music is a music service

    Youtube is a music video service

    Those are two very different things and should be separate subscriptions, IMO. But if Google lumped the two together I wouldn't complain.

  • Kieron Quinn

    No hidden message to you this time?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      No, we can't have it our way every time.

  • hyperbolic

    background listening, at last.

  • http://profiles.google.com/thelolotov Jacob Davis

    This makes no sense to me, how is this different from their All Access subscription?

    • blahmoomoo

      You get music videos on YouTube. But otherwise, it does seem too similar.

    • Unbreakable360

      Um no ads genius

      • http://profiles.google.com/thelolotov Jacob Davis

        Fair enough, that's the only real distinction I see besides music videos. I might get this, if it works on All-Access as well, I currently use AdBlock, but I'd be happy to pay 10 bucks a month for no ads on YT AND streaming music. Also, ad-free isn't really confirmed, if that isn't the case, I see very little distinction.

  • mLogician

    Youtube app has started behaving strangely. It has now problems connection. It does not play videos anymore which it could play previously. Furthermore, the videos which play normally on browser (on computer) don't play on youtube app displaying region and/or copyright issues, though using the same wifi network on both. Strange.

  • dhruva

    exo player maybe the im feeling lucky radio button

  • Matthew Fry

    *sigh* I don't know if they've pulled the background play on iOS but... it's sad that it's been gone for so long on Android and now it'll be back for a monthly fee.

    • Simon Belmont

      Pretty much how I feel about it. I'm almost certain you'll need Music Pass to use it.

      Oh well. We can still dream, I guess.

      • Tills13

        why are you almost certain there's been zero concrete evidence of this requirement

        • Simon Belmont

          It's associated with Music Pass, which is likely a paid music service. So, I wouldn't call it zero concrete evidence.

          I mean the name of the XML file that contains the strings for background music play is literally "music_upsell_dialog.xml" which means they want you to pay for it. It is 100%, for sure? No. That's why I'm "ALMOST" certain and not TOTALLY certain.

    • RXG9

      I've had background playback for 6months+ now with the app "Viral - Floating Youtube Player" I don't even use the official YouTube app anymore, check it out if you want background playback. The paid version also allows you to download videos to your phone.

  • Simon Belmont

    Hmm. That would be pretty sad if you couldn't have the background listening without subscribing to Music Pass.

    I'm pretty sure that's how it'll work, though. Oh well, hopes deflated and so forth.

  • Eric Hoch

    I'm always glad to see a new APK teardown, but every time it strikes me that this sort of information leakage is entirely preventable by using proper source code management techniques. Am I to assume that Google is just incompetent, or are they actually doing this on purpose?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I'm actually thinking this is ready for launch, and all we need now is for them to flip the switch on the server-side, and suddenly everyone will have the functionality already. They're updating early so we don't have to wait later. That's just a suspicion.

    • KoRRo

      i guess this is on purpose, on an app they also left a message to ap!

  • Marcell Lévai

    Youtube gets shittier again, yay!

    • abqnm

      They did finally add the ability for the player to recognize youtu.be links at least. That is one good thing.

    • Morten Ulveseth

      Yeah, who would ever want proper offline videos and background play as well as an option to get rid of ads.

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php rarely online

    Hooray for paying to have access to features that should be standard for all videos on youtube.

  • Anthony James

    it's just a part of the upcoming user interface adjustments.

    • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php rarely online

      That requires you to pay to have access to.

  • laiba

    € 99.99 Android 4.2 Galaxy S4, good function + lowest price + fast delivery + best service = our best choice: http://u.x2009.net/z

  • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

    I still don't have the background audio feature on my device, and I'm running 5.3.24. Is it a feature available to everyone yet? And I'm guessing that's the feature that will allow you to run a video but also multitask outside of the app itself, right?

  • Peter

    It's definitely getting jointed with Google Music.

  • Anthony Tyson

    DA fuq

  • Unbreakable360

    Blah it's not that serious to have to subscribe to that bs There's a lot of apps that float your YouTube over anything you're doing I'm using the viral app pretty good thus far

  • Marcin

    I think Exo Player has something to do with external players.. like Glass :)

  • Mystery Man

    I just hope I get to keep paying $8 for google play music ._.

  • MerdescuRazvan

    I just want to be able to lock my screen and Youtube still play...

  • Morten Ulveseth

    Offline Playback is still scheduled for November. So is it too optimistic to hope for today or tomorrow?

    Source:
    https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/3338081?p=appfeatrel1QWR&rd=1.

  • Bryanferry036

    Google will in the near future likely add a music listening feature to its YouTube app, according to new information hidden inside the Android YouTube app. Android Police took a look inside version 5.3 of the YouTube app, finding a number of strings that hint at a forthcoming music subscription service. Reportedly, Google's YouTube music service may feature no advertising, marking a considerable difference between the YouTube music service and Google's existing Play Music app for.

    http://www.price4india.co.in/

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  • Guest

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  • Siva S Tenet
  • Salvador

    Im having issues with this app, i have the motorola razr d3 and it played videos so well but two days ago i used the app and i wanted to play a video and the only thing that works is the audio, the audio goes on but the video gets frozen......any idea how to fix it?

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