YouTube fans have a fairly universal woe: Watching “Gangnam Style” on repeat, which some people still seem to be doing, on your phone hammers your battery and eats up data to a ridiculous degree. Apparently Google feels that pain deeply, because Chrome for Android has been retooled to let you watch videos all day.
The latest release of Chrome for Android, which you can update from the Google Play Store, is pretty much all about video. For example, here’s a video loading in nine seconds where, in the last version, it took over a minute:
You can also now flip on “Data Saver” mode, which is in the settings menu. It will reduce quality a bit, but will save you up to 50 percent on data. There’s less battery drain as well, although the more video you watch on your phone, the more drain you can expect. The feature is designed to better support websites that post YouTube videos and the like, and Google notes that short videos, in particular, will see the most improvement. Some impromptu testing with a few movie trailers found that Wi-Fi makes the effect particularly pronounced. If your phone chugged whenever a video appeared before, it’s going to feel a lot smoother.
Why’d Google make these refinements? In part because it owns YouTube, and the more YouTube videos people watch, the more advertising money it rakes in. Regardless of the company’s motives, the changes are welcome. After all, those food videos aren’t going to watch themselves.