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Google Spotlight Stories

To watch Google Spotlight Stories, use the YouTube app or the Google Spotlight Stories app. Google Spotlight Stories require a fast connection, such as WiFi or LTE to download or stream the content.

What are Google Spotlight Stories?

Google Spotlight Stories is a new form of storytelling made specifically for mobile and VR. In these 360-degree, interactive stories, your phone becomes a window to a world all around you. The sensors on your phone allow the story to be interactive; when you move your phone to various scenes, you are able to unlock mini-stories within the story.

You can watch in two ways:

  • Move your phone around while watching: This lets you move the camera in the virtual world of the story.
  • Use Cardboard viewer: Touch the screen and then select the icon in the bottom right.

Find & watch the stories on YouTube

  1. Download and open the latest version of the YouTube app on an Android device.

  2. Enter "Google Spotlight Stories" in the search box.

  3. From the search results, go to the Google Spotlight Stories channel and select a video.

  4. Tap the play icon to start the Spotlight Story.

Supported devices

We are constantly working on support more Android and iOS devices, but at a minimum, to have the best experience with our stories, you need to have:

  1. A device with a recent graphics processor, supporting OpenGL ES3.0 or higher

  2. A device with working accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer

  3. An Android device with Android 4.4.2 (KitKat or higher), an iPhone 5s or higher, or iPad Air and higher for iOS tablets.

  4. Internet connectivity for either downloading or streaming the shows

Supported devices for the YouTube App

For watching Google Spotlight Stories directly from the YouTube Android App, we currently support any Android device with Android M or higher, as well as the following devices, with Android 4.4.2 or higher:

Phones

  • Ara Arche
  • BenQ Aquaria m5
  • Droid Ultra, Turbo, Turbo 2, Maxx
  • HTC One M7, M8, M9, M9+, A9
  • Lenovo K3 Note
  • LG G2, G3, G4, G5
  • LG V10
  • Nexus 4, 5, 5X, 6, 6P
  • Moto X Gen 1st, 2nd, Pure Edition
  • Moto G Gen 1st, 2nd
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3, 3 Neo, 4, 5, Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, S6, S6 Active, S6 Edge, S6 Edge +, S7, S7 Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
  • Sony Xperia Z, Z Ultra, Z1 Compact, Z2, Z3, Z3+, Z3 Compact, Z5, Z5 Compact, ZR
  • Symphony Teleca Oneplus One, Two, X
  • Xiaomi MI 4w, 4c

Tablets

  • LG G Pad 8.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S [10.5], Pro [8.4], S2, S2 [9.1 Wifi], Pro [10.1], 3 [8.0]

Frequently asked questions

Google Spotlight Stories App

How do I view a story in Cardboard mode?

To view a story in stereoscopic 3D using your Cardboard-compatible viewer, simply play a story then tap on the cardboard icon at the bottom-right of the screen. To return to monoscopic mode, tap once more on the cardboard icon.
If you don’t see a cardboard icon, tap once anywhere on the screen and the pause and cardboard icons will become visible.

How do I download the stories to watch them offline?

Most stories on the app can be streamed online, so to download them on your device, press the 'Download' button, right below the story description.

I get the message “Your current settings require a WiFi connection to download stories.”

Stories vary in size from 40 to over 400 megabytes.  If you are on a cellular data plan, we recommend that you download or stream stories over a WiFi connection. If you wish to view a story over 4G/LTE, open Google Spotlight Stories, click the menu button at the upper-left corner of the screen and select “Settings,” then uncheck the “Download over WiFi only” option.

How do I check my app's version?

Open Google Spotlight Stories, click the menu button at the upper-left corner of the screen, then select “About,” and the version number will be listed near the top (for example “v1.1.05”).

When I play a story, it frequently pauses for several seconds at a time, showing a busy icon

The download speed may be too low to play the story seamlessly.  Try downloading the show for offline viewing instead.  To do that, open Google Spotlight Stories, select one of the stories, then click the “Download” button at the bottom of the screen. After the download completes, you will be able to watch the story without interruptions.

I get the message "Unable to play story"

You'll see this message when you're not connected to the internet. To fix the issue, make sure your internet connection is enabled and working properly on your device, then try watching again.

The show crashes (or hangs up). How do I fix this?

Close the Google Spotlight Stories app by pressing back button till you reach the home screen OR swipe the app from recent apps menu, re-open it, and try again.  If you continue to have issues, please contact Google Spotlight Stories at googlespotlightstories@google.com.

Moving the phone doesn't point the camera. How do I fix this?

Close the Google Spotlight Stories app, re-open it, and try again.  
If that fails try rebooting the phone, as the motion sensors might be in a bad state.
And if you continue to have issues, please contact Google Spotlight Stories at googlespotlightstories@google.com.

Google Spotlight Stories on YouTube app

When watching on mobile, I don't get a 360 video in my mobile browser. How do I fix this?

Make sure you're watching the video in the YouTube app on your mobile device.

What YouTube app version do I need to watch the interactive version?

You need the latest YouTube app version and phone operating system, as well as a device optimized for Google Spotlight Stories.

How do I check my app's version?

  1. Open the YouTube mobile app.

  2. Tap menu More Menu.

  3. Tap Settings.

  4. Under "About," see the version number next to Version.

I get the message "Please check your network connection. Touch to retry." How do I fix this?

You'll see this message when you're not connected to the internet. To fix the issue, make sure your internet connection is enabled and working properly on your device, then try watching the video again.

The show doesn’t stop loading. How do I fix this?

Close the YouTube app, re-open it, and try again. If the issue continues, try restarting your device. 

If you continue to have issues, contact Google Spotlight Stories at googlespotlightstories@google.com.

The show crashes (or hangs up). How do I fix this?

Close the YouTube app, re-open it, and try again. If the issue continues, try restarting your device and watching the video again.

If you continue to have issues, contact Google Spotlight Stories at googlespotlightstories@google.com.

I see a black loading screen when I restart the show. How do I fix this?

To fix, minimize the show, swipe the thumbnail version away, and load the video again.
If this doesn't work, you can close the YouTube app, re-open it, and try again, or select another YouTube video to watch.

I hear audio but the video is frozen. How do I fix this?

To fix this, minimize the show, swipe the thumbnail version away, and load the video again.
If this doesn't work, you can close the YouTube app, re-open it, and try again, or select another YouTube video to watch.

How do I know what version of a story I'm watching?

If you watch any story on devices optimized for Spotlight Stories, you'll see the fully interactive show, which could include subplots, providing users multiple potential ways to view the story.

If you have a device that's not yet optimized for Google Spotlight Stories, you'll see a YouTube 360 preview of the Spotlight Stories video instead. This preview is a trimmed-down, edited version of the story that gives you a sense of the story plot, set, and characters in 360.

Unlike the full version, you won't be able to interact with the story, its subplots, and other features.

Note: If you don't see a 360 world at all or you see distorted video playback, make sure you have the latest version of the YouTube mobile app.

What YouTube app version do I need to watch the YouTube 360 version of a story?

You need the latest YouTube app version and phone operating system.
If you continue to have issues, contact Google Spotlight Stories at googlespotlightstories@google.com
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