Apple has failed to renew its licence over Google’s YouTube app, reports have revealed. This means that the standalone application will not be present in Apple’s iOS6 update. This comes only a short time after Apple announced it would be dropping Google Maps support on its devices. Apple has confirmed that YouTube will work on the devices’ Safari browser, but what does this vanishing app-giant; one of the platform’s most popular, actually mean?
Online video has gained much popularity over recent years, and in many ways the Google owned ‘YouTube’ site has been at the forefront of this growth, with YouTube videos being embedded in organic search results, and the ability to easily ‘embed’ videos from YouTube on a website.
All of this has resulted in many website owners and online businesses building online video (which for the large part means YouTube videos) into their online marketing strategy. Added to this is the fact that traffic to websites from mobile devices, including Apple’s iPad & iPhone, has also increased over the recent years. Will the disappearance of the YouTube app from Apple’s mobile devices result in a drop-off in mobile visits to YouTube videos?
Historically, Google apps have been a welcome addition to many users’ iOS products. A great many of Google’s browser-based services have been released as standalone apps for Apple users, and the larger ones have traditionally ranked highly in popularity at the app-store. The convenient formula of simply tapping a button on an iPhone dashboard, and being taken straight to YouTube proved successful, as did the similar Maps app.
There is a great deal of hearsay regarding the motivation behind the move, with some claiming that Google itself prompted the dropping of its app because it could not make advertising revenue from it. Others claim that Apple is attempting to build its own, self-contained services, to cut-back on outsourcing. Whatever the motivation, it is clear that a great many users of the application will be left inconvenienced by the need to direct their searches of the website through Safari.
This leaves video-media consumption at a strange place. Google is said to be working on its own, in-house YouTube app for iOS6, but the fact that Apple seems to have taken a U-Turn in the face of these societal developments, no matter how temporary, is baffling if nothing else.