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Google releases new YouTube app for Apple’s iPhone

By Brandon Bailey, San Jose Mercury News –

Google on Tuesday announced a new YouTube application for Apple’s iTunes store, a little more than a month after the two companies made headlines with the revelation that new iPhones and iPads will no longer come “pre-loaded” with an app for the hugely popular video service.

Unlike the old version, the new YouTube app will let Google show advertising to iPhone and iPad viewers, creating a new source of revenue for both Google and YouTube “partners” who create content and share in advertising proceeds.

That could more than make up for any revenue that Google made under its previous licensing arrangement with Apple, according to some analysts, although neither company has disclosed terms of that agreement.

The two tech giants are increasingly butting heads in the mobile market. Apple has replaced Google’s map service with its own, and many observers viewed the end of the previous YouTube agreement as another sign that the former allies are now fierce competitors.

The new app will incorporate features of YouTube’s latest user interface, including personal subscriptions to various video “channels.” When downloaded from the iTunes store, it will let users watch videos that were not available with the old YouTube app for Apple devices, Google said.

In an interview, YouTube platform partnerships director Francisco Varela boasted the new interface will provide “a terrifically beautiful experience,” which he said had been lacking from Apple’s old app “for some time.”

Apple built the original YouTube app, using Google’s specifications, but it had not updated the app in recent years. Google built the new app and submitted it for distribution through the iTunes store.

Analysts say both companies benefited from Apple’s original decision to include YouTube as one of the first apps that came already installed, or “pre-loaded” as part of its iOS mobile software. That boosted YouTube’s mobile viewership, but it also helped Apple demonstrate the kinds of content and uses for which the iPhone and iPad were designed.

In a statement last month, Apple said only that “our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended,” while adding that it expected Google to introduce its own app for iTunes.

Varela declined to comment on the end of the old agreement. “We had a great partnership with Apple,” he said, “and they continue to be a great partner.”

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