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Viewing YouTube videos on your smartphone just got a whole lot easier. The video site this morning unveiled a new version of its mobile website — accessible by going to in your phone’s browser — and it looks to be the best YouTube experience on any mobile platform so far. The site is compatible with any HTML5 mobile web browser, including the iPhone’s and Android’s.

YouTube boasts that, compared to the previous mobile version, the new site is much faster, features better video quality, and is up-to-date with the site’s latest features (like the ability to “like” or “unlike” videos). More importantly for iPhone users, the new site is also vastly superior to the native iOS YouTube application, which is outdated (it still uses the older star rating method for videos), and is under Apple’s control.

YouTube will also be able to roll out new features to the mobile site much more quickly than native apps are updated. And since it’s written in HTML5, the new site could potentially offer mobile users access to more videos than native applications. But while it’s superior to native apps, it will take some training to get users who are used to their phone’s built-in apps to visit the new site.

The new YouTube Mobile is yet another way Google is using web apps to make up for shortcomings in native applications. The Google Maps mobile website, for example, offers support for layers and other features that the iOS Google Maps app has ignored. And in the case of Google Voice, the web app makes up for the total lack of a native application.

The company says that playback on mobile devices increased 160 percent in 2009 over the previous year, and it’s currently receiving over 100 million mobile video playbacks daily. The new site is currently only available in English, but other languages will be coming soon.

You can see a quick demonstration of the new site, and its accompanying features, in the video below.


[Image via NYT’s Bits Blog]

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