Facebook is testing a new feature on its Android app that pre-downloads videos to a user's smartphone over WiFi. The feature is called Instant Videos and will be indicated by a lightning bolt indicator similar to Instant Articles.
The Instant Videos feature is similar to Instant Articles and is aimed to reduce mobile data consumption and allow the user to continue watching videos on Facebook. Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is being tested with a small set of users and it will help users save on their mobile data cost and continue watching a video even with a spotty mobile network connection.
"When you're on Wi-Fi, we'll save some videos for you so you can watch them without using mobile data," Facebook's description of the feature reads within the app. Instant Videos will have no load time and will start playing immediately after the user clicks on the play button. Facebook has, however, not shared details on how it decides which videos to pre-download or how long the videos will be saved to a user's smartphone.
Facebook has been pivoting itself to videos for some time now and it recently launched a new Watch platform that will curate original video content for users. With Instant Videos, Facebook might cache episodes so users can watch them on the move without using mobile data. The feature might also be used by publishers to get maximum views for their videos.
Facebook has been pushing adoption of videos on its social media platform and has even tied up with major publishers to expand the reach of its live videos. With Instant Videos, Facebook might be planning to increase engagement around video content before shifting to video ads on its platform.