Apple quietly removed its YouTube app from iOS 6 beta 4 yesterday, noting that its agreement to provide the app on its mobile platform for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad has expired. Google is planning to release its own standalone YouTube app in the App Store soon to make up the for the absence, while users can still access YouTube from Safari in the meantime. Better yet, iOS 5 device users still have access to the YouTube app until they update to the latest software version.
While the removal of YouTube from iOS 6 is just another step in the breaking of ties between Apple and Google, perhaps this move is a good one for iOS users. After all, let’s face it, the YouTube app in iOS has never been very good. The app doesn’t offer nearly the same functionality and ease as the official YouTube website, making it difficult to discover and watch videos uploaded by users you are subscribed to, offering limited search options and providing minimal updates for the app.
Let’s hope that Google takes this opportunity to create an improved, polished YouTube app for release on the App Store, providing routine updates to the app and ensuring that users are satisfied with the user experience. YouTube is Google’s product, not Apple’s, so perhaps the Mountain View company will place a greater emphasis on ensuring that YouTube for iOS is not synonymous with the word “facepalm.”