YouTube - Addicting video viewing on your smartphone
Tested version: 4.3.9
Latest version: 4.4.11
Requires Android: from 2.2
You know that a website has really made its mark, when it has integrated itself into our daily lives. Facebook, for example, is on everybody's tongue and is the leading example for social networks.
Another big hitter is YouTube. It's a website whose name needs no further explanation, explaining the concept's essential use, which has locked a spot in our hearts and in our daily lives.
Whether or not YouTube is as good as we think it is, you'll read about it in today's test!
Features & Use
Like I said in the introduction, YouTube almost belongs to a group, which have invented the internet culture. It has founded current expressions and much too often, have exposed all the embarrassing videos of yourself and your friends, which unexpectedly went viral.
That's right, Youtube is more than just a grouping of funny videos, GEMA announcements and various small channels. YouTube is full-grown social network, which depends on the interaction of all its viewers and posters and has replaced the normal boob-tube. It's fun at the click of a button, and many channels started asking for money. The content producers of these channels fund their videos with ads, which created an enormous moneymaking potential!
Google, who is very aware of this potential, has been making big money this way since 2006 and the company incorporated the company, which had started on February 14th 2005, for almost 1.31 million dollars. This investment was well worth its while thanks to YouTube astounding popularity. Now thanks to this investment, millions of Android users can get their hands on the video portal and this brings us back to the YouTube app.
At a first glance, YouTube for Android makes a very good impression and you can tell that the mobile strategy is a very effective line of approach. The app's main function is the so-called channel feed. Within this list of videos, you'll see the activity of the particular channels that you've chosen to follow, as well as all recommended videos, which are based on your video history. I think this was a nice gesture, but really doesn't do much, to be honest with you. Fortunately, you're able to customize the uploads activity from certain channels by changing your settings. You can set it up so that only of the newest videos get posted on your feed.
One thing, which was pretty of annoying, is positioning of the ''trends'' and ''recommendations'' buttons/functions. They are stuck under all of the channels, which you've chosen to follow. This is no problem if you only have a few. However, with 200 channels or more, scrolling becomes a real pain in the butt.
Another function that most active YouTubers might miss, is that of incoming messages. Like I mentioned earlier in my review, YouTube is a social network. Facebook and Twitter are popular because of this direct inter-user contact. YouTube shouldn't leave a feature like this in the dust. Messages with tips and improvement suggestions are featured in its place. However, it's important to answer to viewer feedback and to nurture this sort of contact. The missing messaging portion takes away from the user's overall experience.
The next step in our app test review leads us to looking up a video. This is generally available in two variations. When the smartphone is in vertical format, the video will be shown in the top third of the screen, while the information about the video is shown in the bottom two thirds of the screen. It's cool that the information can be maximized and minimized, though it never has been clear why the most recent re-design of this application uses this navigation type.
This is a topic that will be discussed in the next category. It became more and more clear that some aspects doesn't run as smoothly as before. What I'm talking about is the fact that they changed the horizontal list of sub-categories to a vertical one. In the past, you could switch between the description and the commentaries with one easy swype. Now, you need to swype up and down through a never-ending list. This change doesn't seem very logical and is definitely a step back.
When in landscape mode, the video is maximized and the user now only has the choice of switching between SD and HD. You can also chose this in the settings.
There's yet another missing function, which has really left a big hole. The application doesn't control the video's play back in the background. This means that switching to the home screen or turning off your screen will automatically stop the sound. This is really annoying when listening to music or a recording and leads us to wonder why they didn't integrate this into the application. You're also not able to save videos for those moments when internet is not available. These two belong to those extra functions, which make using an app easier and which make a good app, a great app.
Rating YouTube for Android is difficult. The application does a stand-up job with all the basic functions, like viewing and searching for videos.
But those extra-special functions to add that user-friendly touch are missing, like saving a video, the background sound playback, where trend button is placed and the missing incoming messages. These have a negative effect on the app's overall image and leave us feeling a bit bitter.
But at the end of the day, it is still a pretty good application, which makes most part-time users completely happy. Just those avid YouTubers might feel like the application falls a few steps too short.
Screen & Controls
YouTube's best side is shown in this category. The scroll function works impeccably. The scroll bar on the right side of the navigation list and the design create a great overall picture.
Switching from vertical format to landscape was the only place where things got a little shaky, making it the only aspect of this app that didn't work quite well.
Speed & Stability
YouTube didn't freeze during our test and worked hitch-free.
YouTube completey follows Google's free,yet ad-advertising philosophy and is available in our AndroidPIT App Centre.
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