YouTube has launched a revamped version of its mobile website, geared to bringing features from its desktop video player to iPhones and Android smartphones.
The new YouTube Mobile, introduced on Wednesday, adds the ability to create playlists and to like, dislike and favourite a clip, directly from the browser on a handset. The mobile site also now incorporates search query suggestions as standard.
According to a post on the official YouTube blog, the reworked site offers a significant speed increase over its previous incarnation and has been optimised to include "touch-friendly elements", making it easier to navigate for touchscreen users.
"We launched YouTube on mobile devices in 2007 with about 1,000 videos available on the mobile site. While this suddenly opened up the possibility to access videos on the go, our site, mobile browsers and the hardware had limitations that prevented the mobile experience from keeping up with YouTube on the desktop," YouTube said in its blog post. "That's why we're rolling out an updated version of the mobile site."
The Google-owned company said that its mobile YouTube site handles more than 100 million video playbacks daily — about the same amount as its desktop version was seeing per day in 2006. It said the new version should help it cope with an expected surge in internet use on mobile devices.
Currently, the new-look m.youtube.com site is only accessible from handsets with HTML 5-compatible browsers, such as the iPhone and Android handsets, to be followed later by the Palm Pre. A Google spokesman told ZDNet UK that "using the latest HTML 5 techniques allowed us to build a fast and dynamic mobile application that feels like a native app".
At launch the site is only available in English but the company says it "will be rolling it out in other languages in the coming months".
Improvements in the desktop browser-based video-sharing service will be quickly passed along to the mobile version of its site, YouTube said. It noted that this means the mobile browser version will be updated more frequently than YouTube apps for specific mobile platforms. It has a native YouTube app for the iPhone that needs to go through the submission process to Apple's app store, while it can push out tweaks to its mobile browser version when it likes.