Google rolled out the latest version of its mobile YouTube site outside the US on Tuesday, a browser-based application that is as fast as a client application for mobile devices, according to a product manager. The upgraded site became available in the US last month but is now available worldwide.
Google wanted to improve how YouTube functions through a mobile browser since the site is being accessed about 100 million times a day that way. Traffic to YouTube through mobile devices was up 160 percent in 2009 over 2008. "We tried to make it so snappy and so fast, but run in any browser across platforms," said Andrey Doronichev, YouTube's mobile product manager.
It also may prove to be faster when accessed over 3G networks or WiFi. Some users had a poor experience when trying to access YouTube on slow WiFi or 3G connections. Now if that happens, users can switch to a lower quality video if their network is slower.
Google has also built an optimised version of the site for Apple's iPad tablet and recently added support for the iPod Touch iOS version 2, Doronichev said. It is also using the <video> tag from HTML5, the next generation specification of the Internet's mother tongue, as well as other HTML5 innovations supported in browsers such as Apple's Safari. It is also optimised for touch devices, with large icons labelled "home," "browse" and "favorites," among others.
YouTube's mobile site now has a host of features that were only available from the ".com" site, such as an option to create playlists, search query suggestions and a feature to "like" or "unlike" videos. The release also adds buttons to share content on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Doronichev said.
"The most important thing about this new product is consistency," Doronichev said. "We tried really hard to make it consistent with what you're getting on the desktop."