The YouTube app for Windows Phone 8 got a major upgrade today, turning it into a full-featured app rather than a link to the YouTube mobile site.
"It's been completely redesigned to make the most of Windows Phone 8 features," Microsoft said in a blog post.
That includes the ability to pin videos, playlists, channels, and search queries to the Windows Phone live tiles. "The tile flips to show either the latest video from your subscriptions or the most popular one," according to Redmond.
Playlists are displayed in a new touch-friendly filmstrip interface, while videos can be shared via social networks, text, and email. If you just want to listen, videos will also play in the background, even when the phone is locked.
For kids, YouTube can be pinned to Kid's Corner with parental controls in place.
Those who have already downloaded the app will get the new features via an upgrade; it's also rolling out to the Windows Phone app store right now. A version for Windows Phone 7.5 is expected "in a few weeks."
The update comes a few months after Microsoft said the lack of a full-featured YouTube app for Windows Phone was one reason why the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust probe into Google was warranted.
"We continue to be dogged by an issue we had hoped would be resolved by now: Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone," Dave Heiner, Microsoft's VP and deputy general counsel, said at the time.
"This is an important issue because consumers value YouTube access on their phone: YouTube apps on the Android and Apple platforms were two of the most downloaded mobile applications in 2012, according to recent news reports," he continued. "Yet Google still refuses to allow Windows Phone users to have the same access to YouTube that Android and Apple customers enjoy."
Google then responded that Windows Phone YouTube users "can access all the features of YouTube through our HTML5-based mobile website."
Later that day, the FTC basically gave Google a slap on the wrist, calling on Google's Motorola subsidiary to license its standard-essential patents on a fair and reasonable basis, while requiring Google to stop certain practices that unfairly burden its rivals.
The EU appears to be more concerned about Google's activities, and is still conducting a similar investigation.
Earlier this week, meanwhile, Hulu Plus also landed on Windows Phone 8. "The app leverages Windows design principles that lend themselves elegantly to the rich content catalogue and features on Hulu Plus. The clean and easy to navigate UI provides a visually engaging and intuitive experience," Hulu said. Content will sync across other devices with the Hulu Plus app installed.
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