As of Tuesday, Alphabet’s Google-owned company YouTube programmed all video content to play in standard definition unless otherwise manually selected by a user. According to Bloomberg, which reported the news, this is being done in an effort to “ease internet traffic during the coronavirus outbreak.”
As more and more people across the world either choose to or are ordered by their governments to stay at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19, streaming services have been experiencing a surge in usage. The company revealed to Bloomberg that “while YouTube viewing has historically spiked in the evening when people are off work, consumption is now more steady across the day.”
The change follows in the footsteps of changes that were already implemented in Europe, where regulators have already requested that major streaming services reduce their bandwidth usage; Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in the continent were among those affected by the policy change.
Google said in a statement that “We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation.” Though it’s expected that this adjustment will last for a month, it’s possible that it will continue longer as the pandemic continues to keep people at home. RGA