Particularly on iOS, where they have seen themselves frozen out of the App Store at times (Google Voice comes to mind), Google has pushed the idea of web apps. They can be modified without an app store or market, and the results made public with a flick of a switch. On Wednesday, a switch was flicked with regards to the mobile YouTube site (http://m.youtube.com/) and a new mobile YouTube site hit the Internet.
As you can expect, the new site is HTML5, and thus can be viewed on an iOS device, as well as on browsers on newer platforms such as Android. YouTube product manager Andrey Doronichev during a briefing Wednesday morning at YouTube's headquarters, emphasized that the idea was to bring the desktop experience, as much as possible, to mobile browsers.
Additionally, the video quality of the new mobile site, as demonstrated, was far better than the iPhone app. As Doronichev explained that the native iOS app is built by Apple, with YouTube not having anything to do with its code. He also e explained that the iPhone app still uses a video streaming format that was developed for EDGE, not 3G, which also affects quality.
In fact, Doronichev pulled out two iPhones to do an Apples to Apples (pun intended) demo. he showed the native YouTube application against the new YouTube mobile site, and the quality difference was readily apparent.
As Google always says about its web apps, they can be updated much faster. Our issue with web apps such as Google Voice on the iPhone is that there are limitations with regards to such apps: they can't access native contacts, for one, so the Google Voice web app on the iPhone is more cumbersome to use.
Something like a YouTube video web app, one can see, has the much better chance of being fully formed with regards to full functionality with a desktop.
Watch a video on the new functionality. Interestingly, the video starts by using an iPhone, and then switches to a Nexus One.