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YouTube introduces Capture for easy recording and sharing

Another standalone iOS app from Google serves as a new hedge against Apple's waning support for integrated services.

Google announced today a new iOS app called YouTube Capture that lets users film and upload a video in as few as three clicks. Users can post their videos simultaneously to YouTube, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, or upload them privately. Advanced features let users perform color correction and stabilization, edit the video length, and even add music.

When YouTube introduced its first homegrown app for iOS this year, I asked the team behind it why there was no option for uploading videos to the site. Even though YouTube is moving from pure user-generated content to a site that emphasizes more professional videos, it still serves as the de facto place to upload video on the Web. And yet its iOS app didn't include that ability.

YouTube Capture
YouTube Capture YouTube

Francisco Varela, who heads up platform partnerships at YouTube, told me at the time that the team expected users would upload videos using the embedded YouTube upload option in iOS. Anyone who records a video using the iOS camera can share it to YouTube with a couple of taps, he said, making that feature unnecessary inside the app.

At the same time, Apple's support of embedded Google services has dropped precipitously over the past year. The Apple-designed YouTube app disappeared from iOS, as did Google Maps. And when Apple showed off Mountain Lion, the newest version of its desktop software, the system options for uploading video didn't include YouTube at all -- instead, users can share videos natively to Vimeo.

Little wonder, then, that YouTube decided to seize control of its own destiny by introducing YouTube Capture.

Some other key features of the app:

  • The app links to the iOS Camera Roll, letting you share any videos on your phone using Capture.
  •  A "landscape lock reminder" makes an effort to let users know their videos will look better if shot in landscape mode. 
  •  The app uploads video in the background when you finish recording.

You can download the app here starting today, YouTube said.

YouTube Capture looks to be a simple, effective way of recording and sharing video to the Web. But it also captures a moment in time -- one where two former close allies, Apple and Google, move away from integrating their software together and instead design standalone experiences that their customers must seek out separately. The apps tend to be more fully featured than they were when they were integrated, but they also require more work. And no matter how you feel about that trade-off, it's one we should probably get used to.

YouTube's promotional video for Capture: