YouTube Adds New Features to Its Android, iOS Apps

YouTube now lets users watch consecutive videos automatically using playlists or watch videos while searching for other information.

Google's YouTube online video service now lets users watch multiple videos in a row through playlists and even lets users watch a video while conducting a search at the same time using a Web browser.

The new capabilities and several other new features were unveiled for YouTube Android and iOS apps users in an Aug. 20 post by Google software engineers Matias Cudich and Waldemar Baraldi, on the YouTube Official Blog.

"Ever wanted your YouTube mobile app to just keep on playing? Have your video play while you look for the next one, or put on a playlist and kick back? Now you have even more ways to watch the videos and channels you love with the latest YouTube apps for Android and for iOS," wrote Cudich and Baraldi.

One of the key new features is the ability to watch a video while conducting a search. "With the swipe of a finger, you can watch a video at the bottom of your screen while you keep exploring," they wrote. "Think about it this way—you can watch a video about making the perfect fried chicken while searching for homemade salted caramel sauce recipes. You can always go back to full screen with a swipe up so you never lose your place, or swipe right or left to dismiss the video. Just try to not drop your phone in the sauce."

Another useful feature is the ability to watch multiple videos in a row without having to click buttons and make selections each time, they wrote. "Want to sit back and watch all of Epic Rap Battles Season 2? You can now search and browse channels for playlists on mobile apps, and watch great collections of back-to-back videos. Finally, you and your friends can decide if Season 2 is better than Season 1."

Users will also find simpler connections when sending YouTube videos from their phone or tablet to their connected television using the "Cast" button and Chromecast, Google TV, PlayStation 3 and other devices, wrote Cudich and Baraldi. "To make it easier to choose what to watch next, you'll see a preview screen when your devices are connected and you select a video, with options to play the video to queue it up to watch next."

Both the Android and iOS YouTube apps have also received updated appearances, with cleaner, simpler looks that replicate those seen in other Google apps, they wrote.

Earlier in August, YouTube celebrated the special geekiness of geeks with its first-ever "Geek Week" event that highlighted geek content, including "Game of Thrones," "The Big Bang Theory," Harry Potter and The Avengers. The Geek Week celebration highlighted the global community on YouTube that loves superheroes, comics, gaming, science and sci-fi.

In May, YouTube turned eight years old, having launched in May 2005 as a video-sharing Website where people could post their creative works and watch to see if they gained any footholds. YouTube's popularity has been huge, with the site receiving more than 100 hours of uploaded video from creators each minute. All of that video content is being created by millions of partners and contributors, some of whom have become very popular through the growing site.

Also in May, YouTube announced a new pilot program through which viewers will be able to buy premium video content for fees starting at 99 cents per month to reward video creators for their labors while encouraging the development of better video for the huge online audience. Some of the paid content at the start of the pilot included "Sesame Street," as well as "Ultimate Fighting Championship" (UFC), which will offer classic fights such as a full version of their first event from UFC's new channel.

In March, YouTube announced that it has grown to providing video content for more than 1 billion viewers per month. The popular video-sharing site has helped launch the careers of a slew of entertainers and made celebrities out of ordinary citizens, thanks to viral videos.