YouTube prepares Bedtime Reminders and TikTok-like “Shorts”

YouTube prepares Bedtime Reminders and TikTok-like “Shorts”

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While millions of people are cooped up in their homes due to COVID-19, video streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video are seeing a massive increase in traffic. To capitalize on this growth, each video platform has made changes and introduced new features to keep users watching without overloading their servers. YouTube, for example, set the default video quality to 480p worldwide, and in some countries even set the maximum video quality to 480p. The platform is also preparing to add default video quality preferences to the Android app. In the latest version of the YouTube app for Android, version 15.13.33, we spotted evidence that YouTube is preparing to add “Bedtime Reminders” to warn users not to watch too many videos at night. More importantly, a new report claims that Google will challenge the short video platform TikTok by introducing “Shorts” in YouTube.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

Bedtime Reminders

New strings in version 15.13.33 of the YouTube app hint at a “bedtime reminder” feature. This feature will allow the user to set a bedtime during which the app will remind the user to go to sleep if they’re still watching videos at that time. An option will allow the user to defer the reminder until they’ve finished watching the current video.

<string name="bedtime_reminder_end_time">End time</string>
<string name="bedtime_reminder_setting_dialog_title">"Remind me when it's bedtime"</string>
<string name="bedtime_reminder_setting_summary">Tap to customize time</string>
<string name="bedtime_reminder_setting_title">"Remind me when it's bedtime"</string>
<string name="bedtime_reminder_start_time">Start time</string>
<string name="bedtime_reminder_wait_until">Wait until I finish video to show reminder</string>

This setting will reside in the “General” settings page but is part of YouTube’s broader push to add Digital Wellbeing tools. Currently, users can manage their YouTube watch time with a handful of features in the “Time Watched” section of Settings.

“Shorts”

Last October, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was interested in purchasing a TikTok-like service called “Firework.” Now, according to The Information (via 9to5Google), YouTube is planning on releasing a “Shorts” feature in the existing app by the end of this year. The feature will reportedly allow users to create and upload short videos using the library of music that YouTube has licensed. These videos will appear in a new feed within the Android and iOS clients. Like the “Stories” feature, “Shorts” may initially be limited to YouTubers with a certain subscriber count.

YouTube home page showing Stories

Several strings and other resources have appeared in recent builds of the YouTube app for a feature called “Shorts.” However, the strings do not reveal much information about the feature.

<string name="shorts_create_a_video">Create a video</string>
<string name="shorts_gallery_upload">Upload</string>
<string name="shorts_multi_segment_progress_bar_start_label">Start</string>
<string name="shorts_multi_segment_progress_bar_stop_label">Stop</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_fast_label">Fast</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_fast_text">2X</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_normal_label">Normal</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_normal_text">1X</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_slow_label">Slow</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_slow_text">0.5X</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_very_fast_label">Very fast</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_very_fast_text">5X</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_very_slow_label">Very slow</string>
<string name="shorts_speed_control_very_slow_text">0.2X</string>

We will likely learn more about this new feature once it nears launch.

YouTube
YouTube
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.