By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 12, 2012 09:31 AM EDT
Just days before Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 6, arrives on iPhones without the pre-installed YouTube app, Google has launched a new version of the popular app.
Users can now play tens of thousands of videos through the iOS app, including major-label music videos, with advertising. Moreover, the new YouTube app also provides users with a much easier way to browse through channels. A simple swipe from left to right will display a list of subscribed channels and offer new options for sharing, including Facebook and Google+.
This move comes a month after a new beta release for iOS removed the pre-installed YouTube app, which had been a part of Apple's mobile OS since the original iPhone launch back in 2007. Apple explained at the time that its license to include YouTube had expired, but users would be able to access the site via the mobile Web or wait for an app built by YouTube itself. Google has now made good on its promise and delivered the new YouTube app for iOS.
This separation from Apple was not all bad news, however, as it granted YouTube the freedom it needed to provide iOS users with the same modern experience it built for Android devices. For the past five years, YouTube has very little control over the iOS app and Apple's ban on advertising significantly limited the available content, making it difficult to access copyrighted content inside the app.
"Over the years that resulted in a more limited experience for our users, and lots of frustration," noted Francisco Varela, YouTube's global director of platform partnerships. "We're going to get rid of that."
For Google, the YouTube break from Apple could also result in a great revenue opportunity. According to the company, its users watch 1 billion videos per day on mobile devices. Packing the iOS app with advertising will now help the company reach a whole new audience, hundreds of millions of current and future iPhone users.
Although advertising is generally a significant source of revenue, Varela said the new YouTube for iOS will not feature excessive ads. According to him, it will be roughly similar to using the YouTube Web site.
"It's really up to our content owners what they want to do," he explained. "But we're not looking to overwhelm."
Now that the new YouTube for iOS app is out, the company is already thinking ahead and hinting at some other new features to come. An iPad version is currently in the works, and YouTube also wants to pack the iOS app with movies and TV shows purchased through the Google Play store.
"We fundamentally changed the mobile ecosystem with our original partnership," added Varela. "This is just the next phase of it."
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