All the ways YouTube doesn’t feel like a Google app | Phones

Youtube Mobile.jpg

Especially after the last round of updates, YouTube decidedly does not feel like a first-party Google app.

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While there is an animated splash screen (like the Workspace apps), it takes a second too long to complete, and I always feel like I’m waiting for it. In comparison, other implementations are done in a blink of an eye and – if anything – I’m more likely to miss it.

Once in the app, there’s a short bottom bar that, at this point, looks out of place compared to the taller Material 3 style that leverages pill-shaped indicators to note the current selection. That said, one point in defense of the minimal height is the miniplayer. As media apps, YouTube, YT Music, and YT TV have to display playback controls just above the persistent navigation element. A tall bottom bar with another row of buttons above it would just cut into the viewing space for content.

Speaking of buttons, YouTube maintains its own iconography that uses thin lines and is something I more associate with the iOS 7-era design language than Google’s. The icon set is straightforward enough, but it’s overly minimal and doesn’t fit in with Android or Google, which uses bolder outlines.

With the recent changes, YouTube introduced a “You” tab that combines the Library and account menu. Your profile picture appears next to the other bottom bar icons. It looks unbalanced and makes YouTube feel more like a social app. Of course, YouTube is a social network, but I’d argue that more people use this particular client for content consumption than creation.

As part of this change, your profile avatar no longer appears in the…

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