When Apple removed the native YouTube app after their latest iOS update, I was very, very unhappy. I honestly didn’t realize how often I used the app until it was gone. (Ain’t it always the way.) Google fired back with an iPhone app that you could use on the iPad but it was truly horrible. You had to search in portrait mode then turn to landscape once it started playing and the controls were wonky. Not good. Not good at all.
Last night, I did a round of app updates, went to use YouTube and got an incredible surprise! It was in landscape mode and all pretty and useable again. Yeah! So much yeah, it actually makes me want to spend more time watching videos.
The Home Feed appears down the side with a nice, fat, number block showing you how many updates are available. (I’m way behind on The CW.) Below that is the discovery engine which is marvelous. Choose a topic and get a list of recommended videos. From there, you can choose a channel and subscribe with one click.
And see what’s in the top right corner? A microphone! Yes, this new update has speech recognition though I found the results to be fifty-fifty.
The new YouTube for the iPad is all about discovery. It’s built to encourage users to spend more time watching videos, which means more views on your ads and more chances they’ll find your branded video. Best update I’ve seen in a long while.
Google also released an updated Gmail app that is making me seriously think about using it as my primary inbox. It’s cleaner, sharper and has expanding text boxes so email is easier to read on an iPhone. It may not be new, but I didn’t know you could put those color coded labels you see in the graphic. I also like how back and forth emails nest into a conversation – very handy.
The biggest new feature is the ability to log into multiple Gmail accounts with just a few clicks. And here I thought I was the only one juggling four different Gmail addresses. Guess not.
Other features include the ability to RSVP to Google Calendar events from the app, search predictions as you type, infinite scrolling inbox and more integration with Google+.
Both of these app upgrades demonstrate a trend toward cleaner, more intuitive interfaces. The app designers examined the way people actually use YouTube and Gmail and then designed the apps around those actions.
That’s the way it’s supposed to work. And there’s nothing more joyful than an app that anticipates my moves and needs.
Great work, Google.