Facebook has been focusing on delivering more video-centric features for its site and mobile app, and now it looks like another one is on its way. It’s been discovered recently that Facebook is testing pre-loaded videos for Android devices.

The new feature is being called Instant Videos on Facebook, according to TechCrunch. This new video feature is very reminiscent of Facebook’s Instant Articles, which loads content faster than regular mobile websites. However, Facebook Instant Videos functions a bit differently.

Instant Videos are downloaded and cached to the user’s phone while they’re connected to a Wi-Fi network. This means that users will be able to watch the videos on the go for free without having to connect to their cellular network.

Facebook has confirmed that it is testing Instant Videos to a small percentage of Android users. Although the new video feature is seen as a more convenient way of watching videos, Facebook says that its main goal is to remove data costs for its users.

Instant Videos on Facebook are marked with a lightning icon. Any video that has that lightning icon can be viewed without using mobile data. Although it wasn’t really made clear, it seems as though Facebook itself is the one that downloads and caches these videos in the background. How exactly it picks which videos to download remains unclear.

The only real downside of Instant Videos is that there’s no way of telling how much content is being downloaded or cached in the user’s smartphone. This would certainly cause a lot of headaches for users who may only have 16GB of storage on their phones. There’s also no guarantee that the videos cached by Facebook are ones that users will definitely watch at a later time, as pointed out by The Verge.

This isn’t actually the first time that Facebook has experimented with lowering mobile data consumption for its app. The company previously tried to use adaptive data consumption on its News Feed by ranking down videos and prioritizing low file-size content. This only works when the Facebook app detects that a user is connected to a slow internet connection.

If Instant Videos does become a permanent feature on Facebook, videos on the social network would be more accessible to those in regions where mobile data prices can be quite expensive. Instant Videos could also pave the way for Facebook to become a global platform for original video content.

Facebook recently launched its new Watch tab for the United States. The Watch tab features new original content from Facebook’s partners and is the company’s attempt at becoming a hub for viewing video much like YouTube. If Facebook decides to roll out its Watch tab more widely, it would certainly be more attractive to a global audience if it supports this new Instant Videos feature.

Capturing a global audience for its newfound video efforts will certainly be important for Facebook. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Facebook is considering to spend as much as $1 billion in 2018 for its own original video content.

Facebook Facebook is testing pre-loaded videos for its Android app called Instant Videos. Photo: REUTERS/Regis Duvignau