The Windows Phone platform had a busy start this week, with two of the existing apps getting a major overhaul in new versions. Updates to the official foursquare app and YouTube app bring plenty of candy for the Windows Phone 8 users, while the ones using older 7.x devices will have to wait for a while until the new apps are ready.
Foursquare in version 3.0 brings the completely new UI and a load of new features; pinning people and venues is possible, users can use voice to find check-in ?and more?, while notifications happily populate the lock screen as well. Check-ins and sharing is now possible even using the NFC. The new app was developed closely with engineers from foursquare, Microsoft and Nokia.
Second app that got updated (built from scratch, to be more precise) is the YouTube. Previous version of the app was basically a wrapped mobile version of the YouTube website without any functionality at all. This update not only packs the features already available on the iOS or Android, but even goes a step further offering users an option to download the videos as well. This is surprising, given that Microsoft until recently had a line ?Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering consumers a fully featured YouTube app for the Windows Phone.? Believe it or not, it is still the case, as the Google was not involved in this update of the app, as confirmed by the Microsoft spokesman to Neowin:
"Windows Phone invested additional engineering resources against existing APIs to re-architect a Windows Phone app that delivers a great YouTube experience, including support for unique Windows Phone 8 features such as Live Tiles and Kids Corner. Microsoft did not receive any additional technical support to create the Windows Phone YouTube app."
Microsoft asked Google to open its YouTube APIs on couple of occasions only to find a dead end. Redmond even complained to regulatory bodies in the U.S. and European Union, but those cases remain unresolved. Apparently engineers have found some smart ways to avoid the walls set by the Google.
Aside from the differentiating ability to download videos, the new YouTube app enables users to pin videos, playlists, channels and even search queries to Start as Live Tiles.
For some time now, the official Facebook app has been refined and updated more often than what Windows Phone users expected. It was truly under a crawling development tempo until the Windows Phone 8 saw the light of the day, and now some users have been granted access to the new beta version of the app that brings even more UI changes along with functionality. However, Facebook (and Microsoft, for that matter) has a problem. It is the sheer amount of the fake unofficial apps that can be found in the marketplace, 41 clone apps in total. According to the WP Central, Microsoft is on the move to remove all of the clone apps due to the ?trademark infringement?. While some of those apps had an additional functionality and were truly providing something original, many of them were easily mistaken for the official ones by the end users. With that said, it is very nice to see what Microsoft is doing here, and hopefully the cleaning process won?t stop with the Facebook app.