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July 8, 2010

Better YouTube Mobile

Google's services have a big advantage: a lot of mobile phones include applications for services like YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Search. Unfortunately, the native applications are rarely updated, so users miss the new features added to Google's services.

A good example is the YouTube application for iPhone, developed by Apple, which still uses 5-star ratings, doesn't support captions, annotations or search suggestions and offers a single sharing option: email. Google's YouTube application for Android is not much better, even if it's updated faster.

Web applications evolve faster, as they aren't updated only when a new version of iOS or Android is released. The latest update of the YouTube Mobile site shows that a web application can be almost as good as a native application, even when you're talking about a mobile phone.

"We launched YouTube on mobile devices in 2007 with about 1,000 videos available on the mobile site ( While this suddenly opened up the possibility to access videos on the go, our site, mobile browsers and the hardware had limitations that prevented the mobile experience from keeping up with YouTube on the desktop. Today, more than ever, we know that you want to be able to find and access your favorite videos wherever you are. That's why we're rolling out an updated version of the mobile site," explains YouTube's blog.

The latest update adds features like search suggestions, replaces ratings with like/dislike buttons, adds the option to create playlists and to watch a high-quality version of a video even if you don't use WiFi. The site loads faster and it's easier to use on a touchscreen. "As we make improvements to, you’ll see them quickly follow on our mobile site, unlike native apps which are not updated as frequently."

YouTube Mobile can be accessed by visiting on your phone. The new version only works if you have an iPhone or an Android phone and it's only available in English.

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