YouTube gets an update on mobile, with Chromecast in mind

New features include enhanced tools to beam content to television sets

Youtube's mobile app is pictured on August 19, 2013.

Youtube's mobile app is pictured on August 19, 2013.

YouTube is adding some new video-playing functions to its mobile app on both iOS and Android devices. Some of the tools are aimed at giving users more control over how they stream video to their television sets using Chromecast, Google's new video streaming device.

The changes are being rolled out officially starting Tuesday morning, Google-owned YouTube announced in a blog post. A smaller rollout among just a small percentage of users on Android took place on Monday, a YouTube spokesman said.

Chief among the changes is a new tool letting users swipe to move a video to the bottom of the device's screen and reduce its size so they can search for other content while the video still plays. The idea behind the feature is to bring more potential videos to users as they explore within the app, even if the smaller video doesn't command their full attention.

"You can watch a video about making the perfect fried chicken while searching for homemade salted caramel sauce recipes," said YouTube software engineers Matias Cudich and Waldemar Baraldi.

The new version of the app includes several other enhancements to change how it displays video and interacts with other devices like Chromecast. The YouTube app already has a "Cast" button to let people send videos from their smartphone or tablet to their TV through Chromecast, Google TV or PlayStation 3 console. With the updated app, there is a preview screen users will see when the app is connected to their TV.

With the preview, users will see a thumbnail of the video on their smartphone or tablet, allowing them to play it on their TV or add it to the queue, without changing the video that is already playing.

Google unveiled its US$35 Chromecast device last month, as a cheaper alternative to competitive devices such as the Apple TV set-top box. Chromecast plugs into a television's HDMI port to let various types of video and music content be pushed to the television from users' smartphones, tablets or desktop computers.

The new version of the YouTube app also lets users search and browse channels for playlists. Previously, users could not search or watch playlists within the YouTube mobile app, a spokesman said.

Finally, the updated app features a cleaner, simpler look that will be seen in other apps from Google, YouTube said.

The last time YouTube received considerable changes on mobile was last year, when the iPhone 5 and iPad version of the app got an enhanced look. Last year the Android version also received some speed improvements and an improved interface for channels.

YouTube faces rising pressure to stay fresh and offer new features to users as the mobile video landscape expands. Twitter's Vine app and video on Instagram are two rivals both vying for attention from users.

To give people another option, YouTube's founders recently launched MixBit, a service designed to let users shoot, edit and stitch videos together coming from multiple sources.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediamobileinternetGooglesearch enginesiossocial networkingvideomobile applicationsapplicationstelecommunicationyoutubeInternet-based applications and servicesMobile OSesMusic and audioAndroid OS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?