YouTube launched the mobile version of their site today. Here are all the details.
The first thing I saw as I navigated to the site using my BlackBerry 8700g was the following informational warning message:
Information: YouTube Mobile is a data intensive application. We highly recommend that you upgrade to an unlimited data plan with your mobile service provider to avoid additional charges.
Since I already have the unlimited plan, I moved forward. The mobile interface is very compact and in fact more limited (though for obvious reasons) than I had expected – there is no way to ‘directly’ upload videos taken from your mobile phone to your YouTube profile, or in fact even sign in to your profile for whatever purpose. While this is a concern, it isn’t one that will affect a large pool of people since most of YouTube users just watch and a very small percentage actually uploads videos. Even from those that do upload not many of the videos are taken from mobile phones. (You can still use MMS to mail videos to have them uploaded to your account).
For just viewing videos, however, the site works just fine. The recently added videos are displayed at the very top and clicking on menu takes you to a list of options including featured, most viewed, top rated, and top favorites.
I couldn’t actually use my BlackBerry to stream videos. The FAQ points out: “You need a handset that supports streaming video (RTSP/3GP with H263/AMR).” Considering the increasing importance of the mobile marketplace and the mobile page views this is a logical though limited first step for YouTube. In my mind, however, the move is a premature because of the lack of a large number of people with the appropriate data plan and the mobile handset compatibility requirements.