Fresh from crushing the hopes for an officially supported YouTube app on Windows Phone, Google is rubbing some salt in Microsoft’s wounds by announcing a major update to its iOS and Android clients. Among the new features available on both platforms is a picture-in-picture mode that allows you to minimize a video but keep it running as you look for something else, as well as support for continuous playback of playlists.
The first of these allows you to move a running video to the bottom right corner of your screen with the swipe of a finger. From there, you can keep exploring YouTube for other videos, and when you are done you can either dismiss the minimized video by swiping to the side or bring it back to full screen mode with a swipe up. Describing the benefits of such a feature, Google says now “you can watch a video about making the perfect fried chicken while searching for homemade salted caramel sauce recipes.”
In addition to multitasking you can now search and browse channels for playlists, and watch collections of back-to-back videos -- something that had been notably missing from the mobile client.
The update also includes extended support for streaming content to connected TVs and devices, including Google’s own Chromebox. Specifically, whenever you are connected to one these devices, tapping on a video will trigger a preview screen with options to play the video to queue it up to watch next.
To wrap it all together the update brings a cleaner, simpler look consistent with other apps from Google.