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Windows Phone finally gets a YouTube app worthy of the name

If you weren’t already aware, Google hasn’t been too helpful in Microsoft’s bid to build a competitive mobile OS and app store.

There’s no Gmail, Chrome or Google Maps apps for Windows Phone 8 and until today, the YouTube app was simply a link to the video sharing service’s mobile web site.

However, the era of the Google shutout may be coming to an end after a fully-functioning, fully-featured YouTube app launched in the Windows Store on Tuesday.

The new free app, which makes the most of Microsoft’s excellent ‘Metro’ UI allows users to pin videos, playlists, channels and search queries to the Start screen as a Live Tile.

The Live Tiles will then update whenever a new video arrives on the channel. Otherwise it shows the most popular video in the channel at any given time.

Within the app, there’s a neat playlist design feature (pictured) that offers easy access to videos “using a touch-friendly filmstrip.” according to a post on Microsoft’s Windows Phone blog.

There’s also a new feature which allows users to simply listen to the audio from video clips as the YouTube clip continues to play in the background even when the screen is locked. Perfect for users who get their musical kicks from YouTube videos.

The app is only available for Windows Phone 8 smartphones like the HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Nokia Lumia 920 at present, but an update will also hit Windows Phone 7.5 within the next few weeks.

Whether this will lead to more Google apps arriving on Windows Phone remains to be seen, but at least it’s a start.

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