Google is slowly adding the new slide-out navigation menu to all of its major Android apps, and today it's YouTube's turn. The latest incremental update to the official video app doesn't add a whole lot more than that, but what's there is handy: the menu that used to be available via the "app button" in the upper-left corner only on the homescreen is now enabled on all standard UI screens with a quick swipe to the left, just like in the shiny new version of Gmail.
Let it be not be said that Google neglected the Google TV platform today at I/O. Though it wasn't mentioned during this morning's 3 hour-plus keynote, the company rolled out a new version of the YouTube app for TV during the presentation.
Specifically, the updated application brings a simplified UI, enhanced video playback controls, and support for paid channels. The video discovery and subscription tabs now show playlists with blown-up video thumbnails and bolded titles for easier browsing.
It should come as no surprise that after attracting millions of content creators and billions of viewers, Google is developing new ways of monetizing YouTube. Starting today, the company is introducing a pilot program for a select group of partners. These contributors are offering paid channels with subscription fees starting at 99 cents per month. Each channel comes with a 14-day free trial, and some include discounted yearly rates, which is very similar to how Google offers magazines in the Play Store.
The final piece of the Play Store 4.0 puzzle was posted on Google+ today. A YouTube employee by the name of Eileen Rivera posted a screen shot of previously-unseen Play Store front page:
The design is a perfect match for the leaked build we got to play with a few weeks ago, and, if you ignore the action bar, a big improvement.
Of particular interest is the new Up button, which features the Play Store logo and a bone in a dog bowl.
Today, Google rolled out an update to the YouTube app (v4.4.11) that will allow frequent users to get easier access to their favorite content producers with the 'My Subscriptions' feed. In the slide-out panel on the left side of your device, you can now tap on this section to get a list of all the most recent videos from your favorite directors in one place.
Additionally, channels that have signed up for One Channel, which allows more customization of your channel and a better branding experience, will now see their tweaks within the app.
YouTube announced something fairly incredible yesterday: it now has more than 1 billion unique visitors to the site every single month. That's a LOT of people, almost half of everybody around the world with internet access, in fact.
What's even more interesting is how people are reaching the site. A post on Google's AdWords Agency blog took a look at how the current generation, or 'Generation C', accesses content on YouTube, and found that a lot of the traffic is coming from smartphones, as opposed to traditional PCs.
As we get closer and closer to Google I/O, speculation inevitably ramps up about what Mountain View will be unveiling this year to set the Android world on fire. The most likely plans involve boosting Play Store features and availability, given the recent push not only to expand into new countries, but to frame the Nexus line as a great content consumption platform. If Fortune is right, then Google may have a huge axe to swing in that battle with not one, but two different subscription music services coming soon.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal suggested that Google is in talks with record labels to start its own Spotify-like music streaming service. In the same article, the newsgroup also reported that El Goog is looking to do something similar with YouTube, and launch pay-to-view channels, though no specific details past that were given. Now, some code found in the most recent YouTube app update basically confirms the service is on its way:
<string name="paid_channel_subscribe_message">You can only subscribe to this paid channel on your computer.</string>
<string name="paid_channel_unsubscribe_message">You can only unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer.</string>
And there it is, in just a few simple words: "You can only subscribe/unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer." While it's still very unclear exactly what this means, it does confirm that the previous rumors are legit.
The app frontend for everyone's favorite video streaming service just got itself a nice little update to v4.3.9, which brings a couple of new features. Namely, when you send a video to your paired TV, the app will allow you to control the playback with a nice little entry into the notification bar. So you can watch YouTube on your TV while doing other things on your phone – like checking Google+, for example.