As coronavirus forces remote work, YouTube reduces video quality to minimize lag

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Google's YouTube and other video streaming websites are reducing video quality from high-definition to standard-definition on a global scale.

The move comes as an effort to ease stress on internet networks as more and more people are forced to work from home amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

YouTube, Netflix and Zoom made the changes in the EU and China last week at the request of authorities, though experts say the internet's core is managing the spike in traffic just fine.

In this Wednesday, April 25, 2018, file photo, the YouTube app and YouTube Kids app are displayed on a smartphone in New York.(AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

"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," a Google spokesperson told FOX Business.

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"Last week, we announced that we were temporarily defaulting all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the EU. Given the global nature of this crisis, we will expand that change globally starting today," the spokesperson added.

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YouTube also said the website is taking this action despite the fact that it has seen little change in peak video-watching times. It added that most change has been in viewing patterns, such as an increasing number of people using the site at home across additional hours and lower usage peaks.

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Users will still be able to manually adjust video quality, according to the website.

Young woman watching movie at night. / iStock

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Right now, YouTube's homepage directs users to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information regarding COVID-19. Google searches operate the same way, with the first search results for information regarding COVID-19 directing users to the WHO and CDC.

YouTube has also expanded monetization opportunities for creators making factual COVID-19 videos and donating advertising funds to local non-government organizations in areas that have been impacted by COVID-19 "who are using it to spotlight timely, helpful information," according to a blog post.

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This post contains material from a previous FOX Business article and the Associated Press.