Microsoft today announced that the Xbox One will have access to a Microsoft-developed YouTube app come launch time this Friday (Nov. 22 at 12:01AM). Much unlike the company's official Windows Phone YouTube app, the Xbox One YouTube app will be, well, an actual app. Rather than just serving as a link to the mobile YouTube website (as the Windows Phone app does), the Xbox One YouTube app will contain features. Bonus!
The app lets you watch videos within the app, for starters. That's probably important. No need to open up Internet Explorer. You can access your subscriptions and see trending videos. Presumably you'll be able to search for videos by keyword within the app as well, but we're not assuming anything at this point: Google, which owns YouTube, has repeatedly dogged Microsoft for its Windows Phone YouTube app, zapping it out of existence time and time again mainly due to a problem with the advertising placement (or lack thereof) built into the app.
So far Google seems unmoved by the Xbox One app announcement, but don't let that stop you from making any cynical predictions about the search giant yanking it out of Xbox One rotation. For now, at least, the app seems safe (barring any spiteful retaliations for Microsoft's ongoing Scroogled campaign.) We love a good industry feud, but we're hoping both parties agree to keep Xbox One sacred and holy.
The app is fully integrated with voice and gesture control. Say "Xbox" while in the YouTube app with the Kinect 2.0 turned on and a menu appears. Say a menu item like "Play" or "Pause" and the video behaves accordingly. Gesturally speaking, you can select videos for viewing by grabbing them, or scroll through videos with a swipe.
The app will be available in all markets at launch except Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, but those nations will receive the app a few days after that. Later, the app will receive "Snap" functionality (meaning you can quickly switch between multiple open apps as you've been able to do since the Jurassic period on PCs.) Other features are slated to be rolled out following that, Microsoft says.