Updated: May 18, 2021
What do you do when you need to decide whether or not to upgrade to the latest iPhone? I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that in most cases the answer would be consistent - Look up the latest review or unboxing video on YouTube.
Surprisingly, this holds good for the low tech literacy user wanting to know how to block someone on WhatsApp, a gardener wanting to know the best way to transplant a sapling or a housewife trying to master a particular dish she would like to surprise her family with.
Searching YouTube, for almost anything and everything, has becoming second nature.
Not so long ago this phenomenon was synonymous to what was called 'Googling'? So is YouTube the new Google? I would be inclined to agree.
This begs the question - What has contributed to YouTube dislodging it's own family member as the go to platform when in need? The answer to this lies beyond just the brand and service, probably in the depth of human behavior itself.
The most obvious factor is undoubtedly the format - video aces text any day. Humans have always been visual beings. We tend to retain more of what we see than what we read. Consumption in this format is effortless, interesting and clear (seeing is believing)
YouTube and Google have broken the literacy barrier effectively with their efficient 'voice search' option. This has aided in the expansion and adoption of the service exponentially, making the service usable across the literacy as well as tech literacy spectrum. Using a service like YouTube is no longer intimidating. 'Voice' almost humanises the experience. While one could easily imagine this feature being useful to those on the lower end of the literacy spectrum, the use of platforms like Alexa and Google Assistant point otherwise. While for one it is a need for the other it could be a convenience.
And then there is the inventory, YouTube has a video for everything which has furthered it to be considered a learning platform of repute.
The Bigger Picture
This phenomenon, touched upon above, holds a lesson for literally every platform, app or brand. Users today are consuming more in video format than ever before, with content transcending traditional categories and genres. 'Video and Voice' together have literally solved, for platforms, apps and brands, the long standing challenge of expecting a user to read. That users often bypass potential and available 'help' on a platform/app and turn to YouTube for assistance says a lot in this regard.
So while it could be safe to say that YouTube is the new Google or will be soon (if it isn't yet), the phenomenon could apply to video features and offerings on other platforms/apps as well.
So, is 'Watch' the new 'Newsfeed'?... Your guess is as good as mine.
Photo credit: transfunnel.com