Google Releases Official YouTube App

With the presumed imminent release of iOS 6, Apple will be retiring the YouTube app which has been included on its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices since their inceptions. As a result, Google Inc. has released an official app for its YouTube service.

Unfortunately, Google’s offering, while somewhat usable for VoiceOver users, includes some issues as well. Chief among these are a difficulty signing into your YouTube account to access your subscriptions, favorites, etc, and the fact that the app has not been optimized for the iPad. It will run on the iPad, and users can opt to use the full-screen mode to double its size for the larger screen.

To get around the sign in problem, users should find the location of the "Sign In" button, turn off VoiceOver with a triple-click of the Home button, tap the Sign In button, then reactivate VoiceOver.

Most of the controls in the app are labeled appropriately for VoiceOver users, although some feature unnecessarily verbose descriptions which detract from the user experience.

In general, the app is usable, but needs some work to be a satisfactory replacement for Apple’s discontinued implementation. For some users, the YouTube web site may be a preferable alternative, as its accessibility has been improving.

This step backwards in accessibility is disappointing, as Apple’s YouTube app had been the best experience available for visually impaired YouTube users. Sadly, Google’s commitment to accessibility of its products and services continues to be spotty.

Update: Some users have discovered an alternative sign in method via the "Guide" screen. This alternative method works with VoiceOver and may be used instead of the main sign in control.