Microsoft has debuted a new, native YouTube app for Windows Phone 8 with a completely redesigned interface, despite its earlier claims that Google was deliberately preventing it from delivering a first-class YouTube experience on the platform.
There has always been a YouTube app available for WP8, but it didn't take long for users to notice that the original version was really just an app in name only, offering little more than a launcher for the mobile version of the YouTube website.
Among the upgrades, users can now pin videos, channels, playlists, and search queries to Live Tiles and have them automatically update to show the latest content. They can also manage their YouTube profiles, playlists, and uploads, as well as share videos via email, SMS, and social networks.
In addition, the new YouTube app has been integrated with WP8's Kid's Corner feature, which allows parents to limit content based on YouTube Safety Mode settings.
The app's Windows Store page says it works with Windows Phone 7.5 and 8, but the detailed description adds that Redmond plans to release a similarly upgraded YouTube app for "Windows Phone 7.x" real soon now. Support for 32 different languages is also coming, but for now you'll have to make do with English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish.
The fact that the app exists at all, however, represents something of an about-face for Microsoft. In January, the software giant went public with allegations that Google was intentionally trying to undermine Windows Phone by withholding support for some of its most popular properties, including YouTube.
Among Redmond's claims was that Google had blocked WP8's YouTube app from accessing metadata that would allow it to support such features as user ratings and searching for videos by categories.
At the time, Microsoft deputy general counsel David Heiner said that Redmond had been told by YouTube that "senior executives at Google" had ordered the streaming-video division not to provide a first-class YouTube experience on Windows Phone.
When asked what had changed to make the new app possible, a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register, "Windows Phone invested additional engineering resources against existing APIs to re-architect a Windows Phone app that delivers a great YouTube experience. ... Microsoft did not receive any additional technical support to create the Windows Phone YouTube app."
Google – which publishes YouTube apps for Android and iOS, but not Windows Phone – did not respond to El Reg's request for comment. ®