YouTube reallywants to make it easier for you to transition video content smoothly between your various Internet-connected devices, be they televisions, mobile phones, laptops, or desktops. To that end, they've announced the YouTube Remote App, a new app in the Android marketplace and is intended to let you "move" a video you're enjoying on your phone to a larger device to get the big-screen experience.
Basically, YouTube Remote syncs your phone with YouTube Leanback. You'll need to be logged into your YouTube account with the app as well as with another device--your Google TV perhaps. Then, you'll be able to use the phone as a way of controlling the video on the larger screen. Once you're logged into your YouTube account and navigate to YouTube.com/leanback, your Android device will look like this:
YouTube Remote App - Pretty Awesome
I don't have Google TV, but I've got a desktop and an Android phone, so I decided to test it out. And you know what? It's pretty awesome.
My first impression upon reading about YouTube Remote was that it was ahead of its time, and therefor largely useless--after all, how many times am I really walking around craving a way to send a video from my phone to another device? I saw the potential for the future, though, especially if Google TV and similar devices take off. But I was largely prepared to write an article saying, "It's a cool idea, but not terribly practical yet."
Now that I've seen it, however, I need to amend that to read: "It's a terrifically cool idea, and I can see it being very practical." I wasn't prepared for how neat it would be to control a YouTube video on my desktop screen using my phone. It made me geek out a little bit, I'm not going to lie. I've used wireless keyboards and a wireless mouse before plenty of times, but somehow holding my smartphone and controlling the video's behavior on my computer felt like using some kind of future-tech.
The response time is surprisingly fast, considering all that has to happen to make it work. When I hit "Pause" on my phone, it's sending a signal over the Verizon 3G network, which is then relayed to YouTube, then back over the Internet to my PC (I'm quite sure there are a great many steps I'm glossing over in that data transfer). But despite a small lag, it's really a very fast and fluid experience.
And I'm suddenly reminded of the many times I've been in a social setting, telling a group of friends about my current favorite viral video and lamenting the fact that my tiny screen and small speakers won't really allow me to show it to the whole group. But if I have another computer or an Internet-connected television ready, then this is the perfect solution--just push the video to the larger-screened device, then sit back while everyone enjoys the clip.
YouTube Remote is in beta, and is still only available to the U.S., though they plan to roll out to other countries soon. If you have an Android phone and are nearby another connected device like a laptop or a Google TV, give this thing a look.