back to article Google sneaks in back door, slips YouTube onto iPhone 5

Google has released its own YouTube app for the iPhone and iPad, preempting Apple's decision not to support Google's dancing cat collection on its new iDevice, and updating what has been a lamentable experience. Previous iDevices have included an Apple-developed YouTube client, with limited functionality, but Apple's falling …


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  1. JDX Gold badge

    Why should I need an app just to watch a video? Doesn't YouTube support HTML5 these days?

    1. auburnman

      At present browsing and searching videos is easier on a dedicated app than the mobile browsers; this will probably change as site designs get better at presenting themselves to mobiles but I don't think they're there yet. The browser 'handing off' to an app to play video is (on the face of it) structurally similar to handing off to Flash, so I can picture developers sticking with this way of doing things for a while as it's what they know.

      1. Lusty


        Youtube is the one site which is well designed for mobile browsers, and the web version superceded the app a while ago on iPhone. There was even a warning in the app about it for a while.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ auburnman

        Some thoughts.

        "The browser 'handing off' to an app to..."

        ..and thus you come at that ridiculous amount of apps that those bloody iFreaks always brag about. Where most of these "apps" just siphon webdata to a funny front-end.

        "browsing and searching videos is easier on a dedicated app than the mobile browsers"

        ...I though that the whole point of having Safari on your iPhone was to have a desktop like surfing experience on that device in the first place!?!

        Who's fooling who here?

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          Re: @ auburnman

          The advantage of Apps over web pages is that you only have to download the user interface once, and you can do this when you have a fast connection, such as home wifi. Then the app only needs to download the data, so when you are on the road and have a slow 3G or even 2G connection, it will be faster than using a web page.

          For YouTube however, the data makes up the vast majority of the bandwidth requirements of the site, and it doesn't really make that much difference whether iPhone's native h.264 video player streams from YouTube via the YouTube app or via a web page in Safari.

    2. Daniel Harris 1

      You can just use the mobile site, I think it's pretty well designed these days.

      The Microsoft YouTube 'App', just launches the mobile site on WP7. When I used to have an HTC WP7 device, I could download the HTC app for it.

      I actually prefer using the mobile site on my Nokia for the past year-ish.

      I don't see the point of apps sometimes, if there's no value in getting push notifications, or live tile updates, then mobile sites works really well in today's world.

      An example is the Costa Coffee mobile site. If I am in a new area and need to find one, this works perfectly from their mobile site. No need to search for and download a special app.

    3. Annihilator

      Agreed. Why should you need an app just to visit a website is the even more basic question. Doesn't stop a multitude of sites doing it (even el Reg I recall!)

    4. Dave 15

      No idea what youtube supports BUT it is crap

      Well, at least when connected to the huge pipe of broadband at my house it runs so lamentably slow that a 30 minute documentary will take at least 3 hours to watch (with lots and lots of whirly wait things), where as any of the more flesh tone friendly websites will present videos that run without a pause...

      I have noticed that youtube has not only been removing all the interesting videos (ooh, that thing you can't buy, can't get, can't find anywhere else is apparently copyfright in outer mongolia so you can't have it) but has also got noticeably slower in the last months.

  2. Paul E


    "Apple's forthcoming device, which is generating the usual frenzied hype"

    Has it? To me the hype appears to be a lot less today than it has been for previous iPhone launches.

    1. CollyWolly

      Re: Hype?

      Haven't you heard, this one is going to save th US ecconomy!

      1. Paul E

        Re: Hype?

        I fail personally to see how money that could be spent on other things being mainly just added to apples money pile and with some going to increasing their trade deficit by being sent to foxconn to pay for them is going to help the US economy.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Hype?

          People will borrow money to buy things. So long as people keep borrowing, the US economy will keep running. If they stop borrowing, or can't keep up with the treadmill any longer, they get flung off the back.

          Sounds like a silly metaphor, but in a number of ways it's actually quite accurate for how the US economy is being managed. Look at the bank bailouts. They didn't give money to people. They gave it to the banks so that the banks could make sure people could carry on borrowing from them.

          1. Dave 15

            Re: Hype?

            Not quite... as in the UK and Europe the giving of large piles of tax payer cash to the banks allowed a few things....

            a) The banks had money to pay the rich bosses that had caused the problems a large bonus

            b) The banks had money at low/zero interest from the tax payer in order to lend it back to the government (aka tax payer) at much higher rates - thus creating a massive profit for nothing which can then be added to the large bonuses making them enormous bonuses

            c) The banks had money at low/zero interest from the tax payer which they could lend direct to the poorer tax payers (i.e. the bottom 99% of the countries involved) as credit card and mortgage loans at massive (in some cases ursurous) interest rates when the tax payer has to borrow money to pay for food after the tax man has taken it all to give to the banks so they can give it to the tax payer.... mmm.... anyway of course this all helps the profits which get paid to the super rich bankers - swelling the enormous bonus to a gargantuan size.

            In the UK if you know the right people you can get employed at an annual 'salary' of more than the normal person earns in a lifetime, you can fail, take a pension pot of more than a normal family earns in a lifetime (earnings before tax of course) and then go onto run another business (a chemist shop in this case) into the same floor....

  3. Fuzz


    Are they not Jukeboxes?

    1. auburnman

      Re: dukebox?

      Maybe a Dukebox is a Rock 'em Sock 'em robots ripoff.

    2. dotdavid
      Thumb Up

      Re: dukebox?


      "It's time to play tunes and chew bubblegum.... and I'm all out of gum"

  4. robert_raw

    All the apple fans in my work are expecting more of the same so no one is overly excited.

    I guess people assume Apple have become predictable/boring???

    Hopefully they will release something that will blow everyone away but i think the current hardware is already really good, I think the visual evolution of the operating system has let it down a little as it has hardly changed in looks since the day it was released I will be interested to see what happens.

    1. Frank Bough

      "more of the same"

      Yep, another outstanding phone.

      1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox

        Re: "more of the same"

        "Yep, another mediocre phone"

        There, fixed that for you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "more of the same"

          "Yet another average phone, backed up by the coolest brand and the slickest marketing dept on the planet."

          Fixed for both of you ;-)

        2. Dana W

          Re: "more of the same"

          No, you are thinking of Android........

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Blow everyone away?

      "Hopefully they will release something that will blow everyone away"

      Yes, but they would blame it on a third party battery, or users holding it wrong, or something like that.

      Oh, imagine a world without apple fans... :)

    3. Manu T

      "Hopefully they will release something that will blow everyone away"

      Other companies have already done that, It's called a gun.

  5. JeffyPooh

    "Apple has released Google's own YouTube app..."

    There, I fixed it for you. See above.

    The tone of this article makes it sound like Google somehow slipped this out without Apple's approval. Also, obviously there's a lot more cooperation (advanced notice) going on behind the scenes; it's not as if Google wrote this app over the past couple of weeks.

    1. ThomH

      Re: "Apple has released Google's own YouTube app..." (@JeffyPooh)

      Indeed — Apple's assertion that the licence to include YouTube has merely run out sound likely to me. It's a valuable brand and I can't think of any reason why Google wouldn't want to take back the reigns. I really don't think there's been any shenanigans here from either side.

  6. Moof

    You forgot ads

    The Apple version today doesn't have ads while Google's new version does. I think this is part of the fallout when contracts change. In the end it has nothing to do with a new iPhone, but with IOS 6. Who cares about this?

  7. Richard 20

    Not quite true…

    Come on Reg; lazy, inaccurate reporting - the following is simply not true:

    "There's no alternative to YouTube, iTunes is hardly comparable, so iPhone users will have to download Google's client or just find something better to do than watch cats falling on pianos."

    The very fine YouTube WebApp available using iOS Safari has been the goto tool for watching YouTube videos for quite a while, given Apple's lack of interest in their official app.

    Glad to help, R.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Not quite true…

      Indeed, is perfectly fine. However, I think that the concept of "an app for that" has become so ingrained in the iOS user mentality that the first port of call when looking for a web-based service is now the App Store, not Safari.

      1. The Serpent

        Re: Not quite true…

        Indeed, I've never seen the point of having endless applications taking up the often scarce resources on mobile devices - all taking up storage space, clamouring for updates and potentially doing other, undesirable things in the background. Try the mobile version of the site first, that way when you are twiting you aren't working around a YouTube app you haven't fired up since last week.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. chr0m4t1c

      Re: Not quite true…

      >given Apple's lack of interest in their official app.

      IIRC, Google provided both the YouTube and Maps applications that Apple bundled into the OS, so I suspect the lack of love is just as likely to have come from Google; especially as Apple may well have insisted they don't put ads into something that will be built into the OS.

      There is a far more straightforward reason why Apple would remove Google apps from the OS. Anything shipped with the OS will need to be tested with the OS, meaning you have to give the third party early access to the OS. Since Google are a competitor, it seems likely that Apple have just been treading water until contracts expire so they can stop giving Google access to all of their development plans.

      Of course, that will only really become clear if iOS 7 makes any significant leaps forward next year.

      1. ratfox

        Nope, not Google

        Both the YouTube and Maps applications that were bundled with previous versions of iOS were written by Apple.

  8. MaFt

    Not really 'slipping in' is it?

    Now come on, it's not really being slipped in through the back door is it? That implies they shouldn't be there and have somehow managed to bypass Apple's security... Apple discussed it with Google in advance so it's not like they just heard a rumour they were being dropped in iOS6 either. And Apple had to approve the app to get into the AppStore so, again, not really sneaking in...

    Yes, I may be a pedant, but the articles written in such a way to make it seem as though Google have pulled one over Apple's eyes.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "....Google has developed its own iOS YouTube client, a considerable improvement on Apple's lacklustre efforts"

    Similarly droid is a considerable improvemnt on Apples lacklustre effort of an OS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Depends if you think Linux is better than Unix since iOS has a Unix code and Android is Linux based.

      What sits on top of that is largely just applications.

      1. RICHTO

        They can both be rooted just by visiting a website. At least WP is secure....

  10. BlackBolt

    Company issues affecting user experience?

    I think this is a really good example of how political and business issues between two companies has had an impact on the user experience.

    I think if the mobile App is developed well then it could well provide a better user experience than the site, the opposite is also true (Just look at the the Facebook Android App - Its awful in comparison to only a mildly poor mobile web experience.)

    It's an interesting way for Apple to devolve responsibility for the Apps they don't want to support but at the same time it does open the way for Google to push their content into the IOS platform. (Obviously subject to Apples' stringent approvals process.)

  11. Philippe

    This is actually a very good thing

    This Google not Apple developped Youtube App was crap and hadn't evolved in 5 years due to some licence requirements and guidelines.

    This licence has ended and Google can now develop a far better application without having to stick to 5 years old guidelines..

    The same thing will apply with the Map application.

    Yes Apple will release their own Map but so will Google.

    It's called competition, it's a good thing. No patent crap, no my App is better than yours etc.

    Just different offerings, from different organisations, and all free.

  12. Si 1

    I wouldn't exactly call the new app "better"

    Personally I'm not hugely impressed with the new YouTube app. For starters my biggest pet peeve still hasn't been addressed: playlists don't auto-play the next entry in the list, it still has to be done manually. My next biggest gripe is background playback is gone, so I can't carry on listening to something while doing something else.

    They've also used their own progress bar on the videos meaning the "fine scrubbing" feature is lost. Playlists and favourites have been buried much further down into the menus. There's no ability to add videos to the Watch Later list either.

    Also, unless something has changed in the last few hours, the app isn't universal so there currently isn't an iPad version of the app, which is going to be a bit crap if iOS6 launches and the iPad is left without a YouTube app (I'm not a fan of the mobile site as it doesn't play full screen, it leaves the browser controls visible and just fits the browsable area. I've no idea why they did it like that as the iPad is perfectly capable of playing videos full screen on other websites).

    All in all, not a good start. :(

    1. KroSha
      Thumb Down

      Re: I wouldn't exactly call the new app "better"

      indeed. The new app looks exceedingly sucky on an iPad screen. I actually liked the older app. OK, it wasn't brilliant, but the UI worked really well, and it was easy to find and watch the stuff you wanted. Neither the mobile site or the new app look or behave as much like the full site as the old one did.

  13. Ed

    The app also doesn't support AirPlay, which is another step backwards.

  14. ScifiterX

    Problem with the article

    "There's no alternative to YouTube, iTunes is hardly comparable, so iPhone users will have to download Google's client or just find something better to do than watch cats falling on pianos."

    No alternative except Vimeo, DailyMotion, or the like, though admittedly they are for alternative video sharing services. I would also imagine that without an client iOS for iPhone/iPod, would Youtube's service have ended up defaulting to play HTML5 in the browser like iOS for iPad, This could be considered an alternative to a Youtube app, And of "iTunes is hardly comparable". iTunes is a store front, not a video sharing service. It was never intended so a video sharing service so of course it isn't comparable. Suggesting they should be is like suggesting a shirt and keys are comparable. Sure you want both items but for different reasons. You can rent and buy movies and TV shows from the iTunes store front but that does not make it a video sharing service. By the same token, you can rent Troma movies from Youtube (sorta like OnDemand) but it really isn't a store yet.

    Also as someone noted it's not really being slipped in through the back door. It being an app for jailbroken iOS devices would be the back door. It just not sold with the interior anymore.

  15. nichobe

    App vs Broswer

    The Youtube App on my Android automatically caches followed content for viewing offline..... can you do that with HTML5?

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: App vs Broswer

      No, and I don't think you can do it with the iPhone YouTube app either. Certainly not the built in one, I haven't tried the Google one yet.

  16. Dana W

    I've been using an alternate for a while.

    My favorite Youtube Celeb Doctor Ashens has a App available to view his material. I've been using his app more than the official one to view Youtube for the last year now. And not bathed in ads either.

    Available for iOS and Android. I like it better than the "official" one.

  17. Hempy

    Google Docs

    Google ought to spend some more time fixing its documents services. Documents apparently made for public viewing are almost impossible for the general public to find, especially when some of them are veritable luddites.

    Google's spreadsheets get discombobulated easily and can't find the server. Google's solution? Hit the reset button. But Apple Safari doesn't appear to have a reset button. Restarting a Mac doesn't do anything either.

    Google's docs are no replacement for Microsoft Office. Use at your own risk.

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