This week, VidCon, the annual gathering of online video creators and fans, is being held in Anaheim, California. Naturally, YouTube is using the event to make a number of big announcements. One of them centered on an upcoming update for the mobile YouTube apps that will allow users to fill the screen with any clip, no matter what its format might be.
In a blog post, Google stated the YouTube mobile app update, which is due “in the coming weeks”, will let videos fill the screen as they are supposed to, even if the clip is formatted horizontally, vertically, or in a square shape. In addition, all desktop YouTube users will soon see a new look that will include a dark theme and other extra features.
Google will also start rolling out a new way to share YouTube videos directly from the mobile apps. It will allow users to pick a video, then share it automatically with your phone contacts, along with a message. Each video that is shared can also be discussed in its own chat with those contacts, who can respond with texts, videos, and “hearts”. That update will begin to show up in Latin America in a couple of weeks, followed by a rollout in the U.S.
For those of you who want to check out the recently launched YouTube TV service, Google has expanded the number of U.S. metro areas that can access it to 10 additional markets: Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, and Charlotte. YouTube Red subscribers can also expect to see a bunch of new original TV shows and movies to make their debut during the rest of 2017.
Finally, Google revealed a new milestone in terms of YouTube viewership. It stated today that 1.5 billion viewers worldwide watch YouTube videos every month. It added that mobile YouTube viewers spend an average of over an hour of time each day watching videos from the service. That statistic has to make broadcast and cable TV networks nervous, as that amount of time watching YouTube videos is almost certain to keep growing, and therefore will take away eyeballs from traditional television platforms.