TechCrunch reports the Google-owned video platform is currently testing a new in-app messaging feature on iOS and Android that will allow users to exchange clips, texts and links without ever having to leave the app.
But there’s one catch: The functionality is solely available in Canada for the time being. Google product manager Shimrit Ben Yair told Canada’s Financial Post the decision to run trials on Canadian soil has to do with the fact that it’s the country that shares videos more than anyone else in the world.
The messaging platform is pretty straightforward and has no specific video-centric features. Still, the move towards in-app messaging could have much larger implications for the future of YouTube.
As our own Justin Pot remarked back then, the move was likely aimed at encouraging creators and fans to interact more on YouTube itself, rather than resorting to other platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
While it’s unclear whether Google has any plans to roll out the feature to all users in the future, the experiment is a strong indication that the company hasn’t quite given up on turning YouTube into more of a social network.
In case you want to sneak a peek at YouTube’s new messaging feature, get one of your Canadian friends to add you to a conversation – that should give you an early preview.
Check out the video below to get a better idea of how the messaging platform looks like.