Google today started rolling out a major new version of YouTube for Android. This update is one of the most significant for the service in a long time and introduces a cool in-app multitasking feature that lets you minimize the screen while you browse channels or perform searches. It also features Google’s standard “card” interface.
Until now, viewers had to stop the video. In this new version, the video will just move to the bottom-right corner of the screen and continue playing. From there, you can always get back to full-screen mode or just swipe right or left to dismiss the video.
This new “picture-in-picture” feature is the highlight of today’s release, but the YouTube team also added a bunch of other new features. You can now, for example, more easily search for and browse channels for playlists to watch collections of videos back-to-back.
With the recent launch Google Chromecast, it’s no surprise that the company has added deeper integration with the new YouTube app. This means you will now see a preview screen on your device while a video is playing on Chromecast or other smart TV that supports this feature. This should make it easier to queue up the next video.
It’s not clear when this update will hit iOS, but a Google rep told me it will come to all platforms soon.
The update should start rolling out to all Android devices soon. If you can’t wait, the good folks at Android Police have links to the APK for your downloading pleasure.