After more than a year of testing, YouTube is bringing its private messaging feature to everyone.
YouTube just updated its app with the video-sharing feature that allows people to chat about videos in private threads.
The company says the update is meant to “make sharing easier, faster and more fun on your phone.”
You can share videos with people in your contacts or via a link; the feature supports groups of up to 30 people. Shared videos will play within the messages, but you can also swap text and emoji and “heart” individual messages within a chat.
YouTube has been testing the feature since last May, but Monday’s update marks the first time the company’s made its so-called “native sharing” to everyone.
The main purpose of the feature is to make YouTube feel more social by encouraging users to keep their conversations about videos within the app, as opposed to some other service (like Twitter). That has obvious advantages for YouTube: If it works, messaging could get people to spend a lot more time with the service.
Perhaps best of all, though, it also gives users a dedicated space to privately chat about videos outside of YouTube’s notoriously troll-ridden comments.