Quick question -- how many of you used the I/O 12 Android application to stream the live developer sessions from Google I/O? If you did, as it turns out, you were taking advantage of a brand new, as yet un-released YouTube Android Player API. The API was 'pre-announced' during one of the YouTube developer sessions, with a full announcement and release in the coming months.
At present, viewing YouTube content on your Android device -- outside of the YouTube app anyway -- isn't a particularly seamless and enjoyable process. There are three ways in which such content can be presented. The first, a browser plugin/flash based embed, but this isn't a true mobile experience, there is no access to the YouTube player API, and suffers when there's no flash of course.
The second -- which we use to embed videos here on AC -- is the iFrame based embed. This does offer access to the player API's, but has to be embedded into a webview, and is un-supported on older versions of Android.
The third way, is to throw in an instruction to open up the content in the YouTube app itself. All well and good, but it's an extra step for consumers, and for developers, it means that those consumers are having to leave your application to view the content.
And that, is where the new YouTube Android Player API will come in. In simple terms, it will allow for a full, native YouTube video experience, right within an application with full player controls to boot.
This sort of integration has been a long time coming, but with the sheer volume of content shared through YouTube today, it's a very necessary step too. No-one likes having to leave an application just to watch a YouTube video.
The API will be optimized for all the form factors that Android supports, mobile, tablet and Google TV, and will support OS versions right back to Froyo. For developers, integration will be made as easy as possible, with the basic code requirement sitting at just three lines. It will provide automatic support for fullscreen and orientation change, and will adjust the quality of the stream based upon the strength of the network connection.
Importantly too, for content providers, the release of this API will allow support for monetized content. Everyone has to earn a few bucks, after all.
The session itself goes into all the nuts and bolts, and you'll find it ready to watch after the break. It's something we know a lot of you will be excited about, just as we are. The ability to play YouTube videos, in line, within the Google+ app -- yes please.
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