Google owns YouTube, but they don't control the dedicated YouTube Mobile web application that runs on the iPhone — that's Apple's turf. As a consequence, there is some technological friction on the current dedicated YouTube Mobile application, which Ionescu details nicely. The new We- based application promises to smooth out the rough edges for users, irrespective of what smart phone they are using the YouTube Mobile application on.
What exactly is YouTube Mobile, and how does it perform for those of us who aren't necessarily a part of the technorati?
The service, which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/mobile, or by entering http://m.youtube.com from a cellular phone with a browser, allows users to instantaneously upload videos that will be accessible to others via the regular site or the mobile site in mere minutes. You can also search for and play back videos from your phone, and distribute or share them via your own personal community. You are likely to find the YouTube Mobile application preloaded on new Droids and iPhones, whereas Blackberry users are limited to the Web- based version only.
My initial impression of the YouTube Mobile application is that it has a great deal of potential, but isn't without significant flaws for those of us who don't have a brand new smart phone. On a Blackberry 8530 that many would view as very "yesterday," I found the application rather slow and clunky to use. The delay was overwhelming, and bordered on the prohibitive. This has been the historical complaint about YouTube Mobile, as explained by Christian Zibreg on Geek.com. Those individuals with Droids and iPhones that boast faster speeds will likely have much better luck working with the YouTube Mobile application.
However, one can't help but salivate over the growing possibilities of integrating the YouTube approach with a mobile platform that a greater segment of the population can actually work with. The ability to instantly distribute and view video content through YouTube Mobile certainly has applications for grassroots political organization. I wonder how the youth protest movement in Iran might use an application such as YouTube mobile.
The core usage of the YouTube Mobile application is likely to remain in the entertainment realm, however. For most of us, YouTube remains a fun way to waste time-and, now, we have a more reliable way of wasting time when we're on the go and not around a full computer system.
The YouTube Mobile application companions nicely with microblogging systems such as Twitter, allowing people to disseminate richer communication en masse. For those who always make sure to be on the ascending slope of the technology curve, they should have no problems making use of the YouTube Mobile application.
However, for those of us who are always a year or two in arrears of the latest smartphone technology, it will take a bit of time to catch up to the needs of the application. The Web-based YouTube Mobile application will help that process, but it's still likely to take some time. Give it another year, and YouTube Mobile should be as commonplace for the majority of smart phone-users as Facebook and Twitter are today.