Last Updated: March 15th, 2012

The first update since November to both tablet and phone variants of the official YouTube app arrived today, bringing the Android 3.2+ compatible version to v3.5.5 and the versions for other devices to 2.4.4. The changelog seems to indicate that both of these received multiple bug fixes as well as the ability to sign in with a Google account. In addition to that, the version for older devices (2.4.4) received HD playback:

Android 3.2+ devices: v.3.5

  1. Sign-in with Google account
  2. Multiple bug fixes

Earlier Android devices: v.2.4

  1. Sign-in with Google account
  2. HD playback (on capable phones)
  3. Multiple bug fixes

This update is confusing and irritating for a few reasons.

First of all, I was already able to sign in with a Google account long before the update. After updating, I couldn't see any changes to this behavior, which left me dumbfounded.

Update: Dan wrote in to clarify:

It actually is a subtle change: prior to this update, one could login only if the google account was already tied to a Youtube account; with this change however I can login with my google account even if I don't have a channel on youtube (nor have a nickname there), allowing me to follow my subscriptions directly on the Android app.

Secondly, how is HD playback different from HQ playback that was already in place? I tested on the EVO 3D, and saw the same HQ button. I'm pretty sure it's a perfectly capable phone (the changelog states I should have one), so what does HD mean compared to HQ? Are there even more geebees packed in there at a higher resolution? One could only guess. Every single bullet point in the changelog is as ambiguous as it gets.

Update: It's more than likely that by capable phone Google means having a 720p or higher resolution display. That would make sense - lower-res screens wouldn't benefit from 720p videos - the next level down, 480p, should be sufficient (presumably that's what HQ means).

Moving on, the YouTube app is still not available for the Epic 4G Touch SGS II. Or the Tab 10.1. There is not a single valid excuse for this - both of them have versions of the app already installed that aren't that much different from what's in the Market. Heck, until today both the EVO 3D, which is compatible, and the Epic Touch, which isn't, were running the same versions 2.3.4. Forgive me for being harsh, but that is bullshit, Google.

Update 3/15/12: YouTube is now compatible with the Epic 4G Touch. The version of the app was not bumped, so it was just a flip of a switch in the backend.


And finally, there's the fact that since the YouTube app is pre-installed on most Android devices but not actually linked to the Market, you may never even know there is an update. Not unless you check anyway. When you do, you'll see 2 options to Update or Open, without the ability to uninstall (you can't uninstall system apps without root). Once you update, the app will finally be tied to the Market, and you should receive notifications of subsequent updates.

It's just another one of those little things that should have never happened if someone a bit more anal and attentive to detail flagged it as an issue a long time ago. The Market and Android itself is full of these little things - it's getting better, but some of them still haven't been solved for years. For example, why do I have to press Retry when the on-device Market decides to sign my session out? The Market app is perfectly capable of doing it for me). The list goes on... But now I've veered off.


Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • heldros

    It would be nice to have the .apk :-)

  • Nobobdy

    You guys need to get your RSS shit pulled together. It's getting really old getting repeated duplicate RSS feed entries, especially when they just 404 when I click them.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      There seems to be a bug somewhere between nginx and apache where it sometimes duplicates the posts which we have to immediately delete. It's highly annoying, and I will squash it when I figure out wtf is going on.

      • Zwilorg

        It may be the server receiving the rss feed, i have no troubles at receiving on Sage Rss Feed, but on Gmail reader i do get some repeated

      • Anthony

        There is another bug with the market that doesn't show the updated what's new listing when an app gets updated and it seems to vary. Look at the last updated date and then go to description and look at the version number at the very bottom 3.5.5 has been out for a few weeks mind you ;-)

  • zylor
  • Pedro

    I think the HD is for devices with a true 720 screen (GN).

  • theineffablebob

    Some videos have an HD button instead of the HQ button. HD videos are 1280x720 and much higher quality

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Thanks for the clarification.

  • justin

    Pretty sure I can see a large improvement on the Note, videos look amazing.

    • justin

      As a followup, I just noticed on the list screen, it said HD next to videos that have HD available.

  • Vinnie

    You're "Ranting" over this? Get a life.

    • sgtguthrie

      And you're reading his rant on this, what's that say about you???

      • Elrando

        It says that he expected to read something worth ranting over.

        • Vinnie

          Precisely. Perhaps using the word "Rant" even if it is a mild rant (?) wasn't the best choice.

          rant   [rant] Show IPA
          verb (used without object)
          to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave: The demagogue ranted for hours.
          verb (used with object)
          to utter or declaim in a ranting manner.

    • Simon Belmont

      I'd say it's a fairly legitimate rant. Especially, the part about updating preinstalled apps.

      It would be nice if the Android Market just "saw" that you had a preinstalled app that's updateable and made mention of it. In due time, I'm sure it will.

    • http://bradhicks.livejournal.com/ J. Brad Hicks

      FWIW, I agree with the OP and with Simon. This is a busted user interface; if I didn't read Android Market, I would never have known there was an update available. How long would it have stayed like that?

  • Taomyn

    Strange, I've had this version, 3.5.5 on my GNex and TF101 for must be over a week (at least it was backed up by TitaniumBackup last Sunday), yet Market shows that update as dated 1st March!

  • tmotech

    I checked my Sony GTV. The notifications said there was an update for YouTube. When I tried to launch the update, it just opened the app. My Sony is HC 3.1 YouTube app version is 1.2.1 :(

  • Christopher

    Last September or so, Google changed the Market to automatically push updates to pre-installed apps which had no link with the Market.

    Hopefully they fixed to be less aggressive -- the updates were being forced on people, rather than just linking the apps to the Market and showing an update notification.

    But anyway, I think this auto-updating/linking is still happening, so I would expect some of the pre-installed YouTube users out there to get the update.

    • Simon Belmont

      Hmm. Several months back, I saw that the Android Market on my old Sprint HTC Hero did finally notice I had Facebook preinstalled (an app that I never used, so I didn't care about updating it) and it recommended that I update it. My wife commented that all of a sudden she saw a ton of apps that needed updating in hers as well. I figured Google had flipped the switch on something.

      The updates were never "forced" on me, but they did cause me some concern at first because it was an anomaly at the time. At least I think the "automatic linking" going on only applies to free apps, otherwise anyone could sideload an .apk and get linked to the Android Market.

      • Simon Belmont

        You know, come to think of it, I DO remember some apps just starting to update automatically when the Android Market was launched. Thankfully, I could just set them to not automatically update with the appropriate check box.

        Most of them were just core Google apps. A couple weren't though.

  • Mark

    What is 2.4.4? Android's at 2.3.7 for phones and 3.2 for tablets. Never heard of Android 2.4.x

    • Mark

      Ah, Youtube version. Sorry. Wasn't paying that close attention. But it's interesting. I can't believe there's no official Youtube for the SGS2 on Sprint, it works fine on my SGS2 with ATT and a friends SGS2 on T-Mobile. Weird.

  • slurms mckenzie

    works good on my tmo gs2 but the stupid framework interferes with the voice actions. everytime i try to use the voice actions a pop up tells me to sign in to youtube when im already signed in. i have to click on voice actions again for it to work.

  • Michael C.

    Interesting thing I noticed in updating the app is that now it also has permission to take pictures and videos. Didn't see it mentioned in the rant, not sure if it's even worth mentioning, but it's there.

    • Simon Belmont

      That's so you can launch your video recorder directly from the YouTube app. That way you can quickly take a video and upload it to YouTube.

      I thought that had been a feature for quite a while anyway. Very interesting.

  • Jonathan

    Just found out you can only watch HD vids on gnex ONLY on wifi wtf

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    The YouTube app is now compatible with the Epic 4G Touch as of today.

  • shaggyskunk

    Why are you guys publishing this article on the 15th for an update that is about two weeks old? Mine updated itself back then!

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      It was an update to the story, see where it says 3/15/12 in the body.