This week's sponsor

Vectornator

Graphic Design for the iPad and iPhone – Reimagined!


Posts tagged with "youtube"

Google Introduces YouTube Digital Wellbeing Features

If you’ve ever wondered how long you spend watching YouTube, now you can find out. With an update that hit the App Store today, Google has added ‘Time watched’ statistics to the iOS app’s Account view. Tap your avatar in the upper right-hand corner, then ‘Time watched’ for your total viewing time today, yesterday, and the past week, plus your daily average. The statistics are based on your YouTube Watch History, so they don’t include anything deleted from your Watch History or watched in Incognito mode. Nor does Google include YouTube Music listening statistics.

The new ‘Time watched’ section also includes the ability to set up reminders to take a break periodically, which can be set in 5-minute increments between 5 minutes and 24 hours. There’s also a toggle for batching the notifications YouTube sends. There are 10 categories of notifications available in the YouTube app, so batching them if you have several turned on is a welcome addition. Notification digests can also be accessed from the app’s settings. From 'Time watched,' you can turn off Autoplay and disable sounds and vibrations too.

Originally announced at Google I/O earlier this year, it’s nice to see watch time statistics added at the app level, even though similar information will be available from the Screen Time feature coming soon with iOS 12. If you haven’t been running the iOS 12 beta, taking a peek at your YouTube usage statistics now is an excellent way to get a feel for the utility of having an objective measure of how long you spend on the service.


Google Introduces YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Subscription Services, Retires YouTube Red Moniker

Google seems to have an affinity for constantly rebranding its products, and today is the latest example of that. Soon, YouTube Red will be replaced by the more costly $11.99/month YouTube Premium service – the good news is that Premium members will get all the benefits of YouTube's new Music service thrown in too. And if you're an existing Red subscriber, or sign up quickly before Premium launches, you can lock in the existing $9.99 monthly rate and still get all the benefits of Premium and Music.

YouTube Music is Google's attempt at taking on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify directly. Launching May 22nd, YouTube Music will have both a free tier and a paid, $9.99/month option. The main focus here is the paid plan though, as it will be the only way to enable background listening – a pretty important feature for music. Paid subscribers will also benefit from downloads and ad-free listening.

YouTube Music will launch with a new mobile app and desktop player, and use Google's intelligence to power advanced search capabilities and an aggregation of different song versions you may not find elsewhere. In a confusing move, Google Play Music will continue to exist as a separate service from YouTube Music, but if you're a subscriber to the former, you get the latter service at no extra cost.

As someone who uses YouTube regularly, but not enough to justify a Red subscription, the new Premium plan definitely seems like a more attractive all-around product, despite the price hike: you get a full-fledged music streaming service, YouTube Originals, and a better viewing experience on the largest video source in the world thanks to downloads, no ads, and background playback, all for $11.99. Spotify and Apple Music subscribers may be content with their chosen services for now, but if YouTube Music truly does become a legitimate contender in the streaming market, it will be hard to resist the allure of YouTube Premium for all the extra perks it offers.

At launch, YouTube Music and Premium will be available in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico, and they'll arrive shortly thereafter in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.



YouTube Adds iMessage App for Sharing Videos

Today YouTube’s iOS app received an update that includes the video service’s first iMessage app. The app only focuses on a single function – sharing videos – but it does well with that one thing, offering a robust sharing experience.

Upon opening the YouTube iMessage app, you’ll see a list of videos you’ve recently watched. This appears to pull videos directly from your full YouTube history, presenting a seemingly endless scrolling list of everything you’ve watched. Often iMessage apps contain a mere fraction of the information found in their parent apps, so I was expecting to only see a small number of recently watched videos listed; the ability to continue scrolling through my full history is a pleasant surprise. Another welcome addition is the inclusion of a search option. At the top of the iMessage app, you can search for any video on YouTube – either by text or by voice. Tapping the search box even reveals a list of your recent YouTube search queries.

When searching for the right video to share, YouTube’s iMessage app lets you view any video in full before sharing – just hit the vertically stacked dots on a video’s right hand side to find a Watch button. Once you’ve chosen a video to share, it will populate as an iMessage card that can be sent to friends, and they’ll be able to watch the video without ever leaving the iMessage conversation.

YouTube is a solid demonstration of a rich iMessage experience. Even though its purpose is limited to sharing videos, it offers access to everything you might want before sharing – your full watch history, a search option with recent search queries listed, and even the ability to watch a video inside iMessage before you send it. iMessage app developers take note: just because your app serves a single purpose doesn’t mean it has to be a bare-bones experience.


Third-Party YouTube App ProTube Pulled from the App Store

ProTube, a YouTube power-user app that I reviewed last year, has long had features that the official YouTube doesn’t have or was slow to implement. Features like background audio playback, support for 4K video at 60fps, Split View support, Picture in Picture, and a URL scheme for automation, put Google’s YouTube app to shame. However, as the YouTube app began to implement some of ProTube’s unique features as part of its $10/month YouTube Red service, I wondered what might become of ProTube. Unfortunately, it looks like the answer came late last week when Apple pulled ProTube from the App Store.

According to developer Jonas Gessner,

YouTube first requested Apple to remove my app well over a year ago, initially just stating that my app violates their Terms of Service. This was a generic takedown request they sent to many YouTube apps at once. They later started going into more detail, even stating that I could not sell the app as that alone violates their ToS. They basically wanted me to remove every feature that made ProTube what it is – that includes the player itself that allows you to play 60fps videos, background playback, audio only mode and more.

The app, which was pulled from the App Store on September 1st is no longer available for sale and will no longer receive updates, but remains available to re-download if you previously purchased it.

It’s a shame to see ProTube go. It implemented features Google didn’t care, or want, to add but that a subset of YouTube users wanted as demonstrated by the top charts numbers in Gessner’s post. However, ProTube also implemented features that YouTube wanted to reserve for paid subscribers and the result, while disappointing, is one of the risks of building an app on top of someone else’s service.

Permalink

YouTube Revamps Logo, Adds Dark Mode for Web, Playback Speed Adjustment for Mobile, with More Coming Soon

YouTube today introduced a new logo and announced a host of improvements to its service across mobile and web platforms – some of which launch today, while others are coming soon.

After testing with limited groups for a time, YouTube’s Material Design web update is now being rolled out to all users. With it comes the exciting addition of a Dark Theme – a feature I hope makes its way to the service’s mobile apps soon.

YouTube’s iOS app received a minor update today that brought two primary changes: a redesigned header dominated by white space and the new logo, and new playback speed controls. Playback speed can be set as slow as 0.25x or as fast as 2x, with several options in-between. You’ll find the controls in a video’s settings menu, which can be accessed from the top-right corner of the screen.

Perhaps more exciting than the new features launching today are those coming in the near future, such as adaptive video:

Soon, the YouTube player will seamlessly change shape to match the video format you’re watching, such as vertical, square or horizontal. That means you’ll always get the best viewing experience automatically – including vertical videos with no black bars on the sides!

A new gesture to switch videos with a single swipe is also coming soon, and lastly a revamped area below the video player for improved browsing.


Softorino YouTube Converter 2 Makes Downloading Streaming Video Effortless

There are few macOS utilities I’ve tried that take a potentially complex, multi-step process and boil it down to a simple task as well as Softorino YouTube Converter 2 does. That’s because it’s a difficult technical and design challenge to hide complexity without creating an inflexible app with too many compromises. Softorino YouTube Converter, also known as SYC, does an excellent job avoiding the pitfalls and striking a balance between utility and simplicity. It only takes a few steps to go from a URL to a downloaded video or audio file, but SYC still allows for just enough tweaking along the way that it preserves a level of versatility that should make it attractive to a wide range of users.

Read more


YouTube Launches ‘Uptime’ App for Social Video Watching

Today YouTube launched a new iPhone-only app called Uptime. Uptime adopts many of the social features commonly found in social video streaming apps like Periscope – live comments, reactions, etc. – and applies them to YouTube videos.

Inside the app, you browse videos in a feed consisting of content shared by people you follow in Uptime. You can also tap the search box at the bottom to search for videos or pick from a list of videos based on your YouTube subscriptions and viewing history.

When viewing a video in Uptime, what you're watching will be publicly available to your followers in their Uptime feed, so they can join in and watch alongside you. You also have the option to directly share a video with others, whether by sending them a link using the iOS share sheet or by inviting them inside the app.

As a video is being watched, all current viewers are represented by their profile pictures on a track that covers the borders of the screen. As the video moves closer to its end, you'll be further along the track, and you can manually drag and drop your avatar to navigate through the video. During playback, you can type comments, use one of six built-in reaction emoji, or move your finger around the screen to create a sparkle effect. Videos can be viewed in both portrait and landscape, but currently there is no way to type comments while in landscape.

Uptime is available in the App Store, but it requires an invitation code to setup your account. The code PIZZA is currently working.


YouTube TV Streaming Service Coming This Spring

Yesterday YouTube announced a forthcoming TV offering called YouTube TV. The streaming service consists of a bundle of over 40 networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN. YouTube Red Originals are thrown in too. When it launches this spring, the service will cost $35/month with no contracts or other commitments.

Upon launch, YouTube TV will be available as a new app, separate from the standard YouTube app. Yesterday's blog post mentions an iOS app, but there is no reference to an Apple TV app.

You can watch YouTube TV on any screen—mobile, tablet or computer—and you can easily stream to your TV with a Google Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV. YouTube TV works on both Android and iOS.

While this could be a simple oversight, it appears that watching on the big screen will require a Chromecast device. We'll have to wait until launch to see for sure. Similarly, it's unknown at this point if the iOS app will support Picture in Picture or Split View on iPad. The lack of an Apple TV app or iPad-specific features would make the service much less appealing to someone who watches most video on those devices.

The full channel lineup for YouTube TV.

The full channel lineup for YouTube TV.

One of the biggest selling points for YouTube TV is that it includes a cloud DVR with unlimited storage. The freedom to record anything and never worry about storage space is nice. Especially since, unlike many traditional cable or satellite services today, I would expect YouTube's DVR to work flawlessly regardless of whether you're watching on a mobile device or your TV. One small string attached to the DVR is that content gets erased nine months after it's been recorded.

YouTube TV is the latest in a series of TV streaming offerings that bundles together big-name networks in a package resembling a traditional cable bundle. Sling TV was the first major player to dip its toes into the market, followed by PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, and Hulu has announced they'll have their own offering available soon. One advantage YouTube TV may have over its current competition is the experience gained from serving a billion hours of video content every day. YouTube should have no trouble scaling the service to reach large numbers of users for things like major sporting events.

Recently I shared in a Club MacStories newsletter how I had cut the cord and ended my satellite service. Because of that, streaming services like YouTube TV are more appealing to me than ever. Though the potential lack of iPad features or an Apple TV app are concerning, YouTube's credentials make its service more appealing in my mind than any of its competition. YouTube knows what it's doing with streaming video, so I'm looking forward to checking this service out.