[Updated] Opinion: Google may have won the battle against YouTube Vanced, but not the war
New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….
Original story (published on May 8, 2023) follows:
A couple or so weeks ago, YouTube Vanced users started seeing what was an inevitable message on their Android phones given the developments around the popular YouTube fork.
Unless you just resurfaced, you must have heard that Google sent a cease-and-desist letter to creators of YouTube Vanced forcing them to shut down the app. If you haven’t, well, this happened in March 2022.
At the time, the Vanced team said that existing versions of the app would continue working but later become obsolete within two years.
A year later, multiple YouTube Vanced users started experiencing issues with streaming content on the platform. An app that was working perfectly fine suddenly wasn’t anymore.
“The following content is not available on this app,” the error message read. In order to proceed, you have to “watch on the latest version of YouTube.”
At first, only a few people were affected. And then the numbers started growing over time. Having highlighted the problem in one of our coverages, it wasn’t long before we got swarmed with emails about potential solutions.
Of course, we’ve shared a whole lot of them with our readers. But given the timing, it’s possible that YouTube has started implementing backend changes as part of its year-long efforts to shut down Vanced.
Although not officially confirmed, the writing is on the wall. The days of YouTube Vanced seem numbered, and it’s such a sad moment in the life of such an amazing product.
RIP YouTube Vanced 😞
Sure, Google will be justified to bring an end to Vanced. After all, Vanced users are potential YouTube Premium subscribers that Google could be missing out by continuing to allow its existence.
But unfortunately, YouTube Premium is still not available in every country across the globe. And even for those who have it, some are reporting issues with ads occasionally bypassing the paywall.
Furthermore, YouTube ads on the free version have become something else, so using the official app is quite messy for the most part. But by offering premium features for free, YouTube Vanced was able to thrive.
The recent design changes to the official app aren’t doing YouTube any favors either. Decisions like the new playlist UI with horizontal scrolling instead of the usual vertical scrolling have some questioning the team behind the app.
Sure, we knew this day would come. In fact, several alternatives had already come out even before the demise of YouTube Vanced. It’s as if someone knew it was an inevitable thing, which is a welcome idea, of course.
The likes of YMusic, NewPipe, SongTube, YouTube++, and LiberTube already exist. Perhaps they don’t command significant numbers for now, which explains why Google hasn’t reined in on them just yet.
Of course, YouTube Vanced could never match the numbers of the official YouTube app. But the fact that it was able to get Google’s attention suggests it was quite popular.
While Vanced definitely had plenty of features that you’d only dream to find on the official app, Google should also look at why such a significant number of people prefer the unofficial YouTube app.
There must be something the team was doing right besides ad-free and background playback. This is what the YouTube team needs to get right. Otherwise, YouTube ReVanced will easily and quickly grow in popularity.
And even though it might not mean anything tangible at the moment, it’s interesting to note that the ReVanced subreddit already has over 100K subscribers in just a little over a year of existence.
And quite a number of former Vanced users are already embracing it.
The team behind YouTube ReVanced is also actively pushing new updates to fix bugs and improve performance.
And while it remains unknown how long YouTube ReVanced will run until Google comes knocking, what is becoming clear is that Google may have to do more than just sending a cease-and-desist letter to combat this and other forks.
There will likely be more Vanced forks popping up in future, not unless YouTube makes further restrictions preventing access to certain aspects of its API ala Twitter and potentially Reddit.
The fact that YouTube ReVanced is already a popular Vanced alternative even before the dust settles says it all — that Google may have won the battle against YouTube Vanced, but not the war against the core Vanced idea.
Time will tell, but until then, do share your thoughts in the comments section and poll below.
Update 1 (May 10, 2023)
04:58 pm (IST):
Although the Vanced team was inactive for a long time, they quickly released a fix to bypass the YouTube backend change and are currently testing a new app version. This could indicate that the dev team is back in active development of the app.
Correction: The Vanced repository referenced is actually an unofficial project run by other developers (being Cuynu part of the team). So, the original Vanced team is not back yet, but there are others taking over.
Therefore, as this is an unofficial project, you should be careful when using the files. However, if you have the necessary knowledge, you can check the code since it is available in the repository.
Update 2 (May 12, 2023)
05:44 pm (IST): Those users who are interested in installing ReVanced can checkout this comprehensive guide suggested by a Redditor.
However, installing YouTube Vanced is still easier and you can check out the steps for that in ‘Update 4’ here.
Update 3 (May 15, 2023)
05:08 pm (IST): The most recent YouTube movements are considering challenging substitute services or applications that could impair their ability to monetize through ads.
However, such actions might have the opposite impact because more users might start looking for ways to bypass such limitations.
Update 4 (May 19, 2023)
04:45 pm (IST): According to the announcement by Vanced Integration Developer, the official Vanced sub-reddit has been archived.
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