YOUTUBE is limiting video quality around the entire world for a month – to reduce strain on networks during the coronavirus crisis.
The unprecedented move expands on a policy already in place across the UK and Europe.
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It means that all Youtube videos will now be set to 480p quality by default.
That’s described as “standard definition” – and won’t make the most of the HD and 4K screens we’ve grown used to.
Fortunately, you can still manually change the definition if you want or need higher-resolution content.
It comes after The Sun revealed how some experts think internet capacity will be increasingly rationed to prioritise “critical” apps and websites.
Daytime internet usage is up significantly, as people self-isolate and seek out the latest news, advice and distractions from the pandemic.
According to YouTube, this will ensure maximum bandwidth availability around the world.
The measures will be in place for 30 days initially, in co-operation with governments.
And the good news is that it’s still possible to manually adjust the video quality if you do need higher streaming.
But making lower-quality videos the default should relieve major stress on networks.
“People are coming to YouTube to find authoritative news, learning content and make connections during these uncertain times.” a YouTube spokesperson told The Sun.
“While we have seen only a few usage peaks, we have measures in place to automatically adjust our system to use less network capacity.
“We will continue our work to minimize stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience.”
In a separate statement, YouTube added: 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.”
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – BE IN THE KNOW
YouTube isn’t alone in this decision.
Many service providers have cut streaming quality around the world, including Netflix, Facebook and Instagram, Apple TV+ and Disney+.
Tech firms are currently racing to roll out new tools, measures and advice to help reduce the impact of coronavirus outbreak globally.
Snapchat has rushed out a mental health tool to tackle potentially widespread anxiety.
Facebook will be delivering “vetted” coronavirus info to the top of News Feeds daily.
And Facebook-owned WhatsApp launched its own COVID-19 “info hub”.
The chat app also donated $1million to fact-checking organisations around the world – in a bid to tackle coronavirus fake news.
Twitter created a brand new handwashing emoji to help fight germs during the coronavirus pandemic.
The emoji is backed by the World Health Organisation – and shows how social media is becoming a tool to tackle the outbreak.
Any Twitter user can trigger the emoji by using any one of four hashtags.
They are: #handwashing, #SafeHands, #HandWashChallenge and #WashYourHands.
The #SafeHands campaign is backed by the WHO, which has been working overtime to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebrevesus, the WHO director general, praised the emoji while sharing a video of himself washing his hands.
In a tweet, Dr Tedros wrote: “Thank you Twitter for such a nice addition to our #SafeHands challenge!
“We @WHO love it and hope the challenge will generate videos as creative as the new #HandWashing emoji!”
COVID-19 originated in the city of Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and has since travelled rapidly across the globe.
People can spread the virus to each other through close contact or bodily fluids.
The virus has killed more than 17,000 individuals worldwide, according to an estimate from Johns Hopkins University.
MOST READ IN TECH
In other news, Instagram has banned dangerous, reckless and insensitive coronavirus filters.
Criminals are taking advantage of the Covid-19 outbreak by sending scam emails claiming to be from the WHO.
And, we debunked some of the most outrageous coronavirus conspiracy theories.
What else do you think tech companies should be doing to help tackle the coronavirus crisis? Let us know in the comments!
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