Apple pulls ProTube from App Store following complaints by Google's YouTube

Posted:
in iPhone
Despite it being available for nearly three years, Apple has removed a popular alternative YouTube client -- ProTube -- from the App Store, allegedly bowing to pressure by Google.




Google, which owns YouTube, first asked Apple to pull ProTube over a year ago on the basis that it violates the company's terms of service, developer Jonas Gessner said in a blog post. Similar takedown requests were reportedly directed against other YouTube clients.

Eventually Google insisted that Gessner stop making ProTube a paid title and disable all of its signature features, such as background playback and an audio-only mode. This would've rendered the app useless versus the official YouTube client, but since ProTube's arrival Google has launched YouTube Red, a service which includes some of ProTube's features -- but for a monthly fee.

Gessner said he tried to negotiate with Google but found communication "very difficult," without the chance to get a direct response to questions. The company is said to have threatened legal action, and hanging over the process was the chance that Google would simply switch off ProTube's access to the YouTube API.

Ultimately Gessner found that letting the app get pulled was the best decision, since it would end the fight with Google while letting existing users hold onto the features they paid for.

ProTube 1 is still available on Cydia, a distribution system for jailbroken iPhones and iPads, but Gessner said that he decided against putting ProTube 2.x on the platform since relatively few people have jailbroken hardware, App Store purchases can't be carried over to Cydia, and Google might still pursue legal action.

Developers have sometimes complained that App Store rules can be fickle, making it hard to count on the store as a source of income. Last month, a group of 28 Chinese developers filed a related antitrust complaint.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    It's Google's wont. And it's their clientele they're ticking off. Their call.

    Nothing much that Apple can do about it at the end of the day, despite trying.
    watto_cobralolliverbabad3
  • Reply 2 of 20
    This would be akin to a developer having an app that accessed the iTunes Store, but lets you stream any of the songs you want. I’m sure Apple wouldn’t be happy since that would make Apple Music redundant, even though the other app is still using Apple’s infrastructure. Don’t really see how Google can be blamed here.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 3 of 20
    It's Google's wont. And it's their clientele they're ticking off. Their call.
    They don't really have to worry about upsetting anyone, as they'll simply delist, delete, and remove from search results any video on YouTube that goes against their narrative–namely, here, exposing that they do this.
    watto_cobraMetriacanthosauruslolliverbabad3
  • Reply 4 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member
    TS, I do like some of the things you write, but you do better when you you actually look before claiming things as fact. It's easy to find anti-Google YouTube content, 180 degrees counter to what you imply. 
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Google+evil+youtube&rlz=1CAZZAB_enUS739US739&oq=Google+evil+youtube&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i64.5700j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
  • Reply 5 of 20
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,305member
    No surprise. This was the fate expected of ProTube when I purchased it. I wouldn't mind this action if Google's YouTube app supported 4k video and background play on the 12.9" iPad, but it doesn't, so I do.
    Tangentially, one thing my brief stint with YouTube TV emphasized was how poorly designed Google's apps are. Google/Alphabet just isn't as good at software as its reputation suggests. And  their attracting a lot of high profile employees is just fluff, just like a lot of the X projects are. All the better to recruit young, impressionable graduates. (Now, I do have great respect for the company's ability to track people, store the data forever, and the potential to mine the data in the future as their software improves.)
    watto_cobraSpamSandwichlolliver
  • Reply 6 of 20
    gatorguy said:
    It's easy to find anti-Google YouTube content, 180 degrees counter to what you imply.
    You know I'm talking about Google's new censorship and demonetization policy. You know I'm being hyperbolic to make the point.
    entropyswatto_cobraSpamSandwichMetriacanthosauruslolliver
  • Reply 7 of 20
    AF_Hitt said:
    This would be akin to a developer having an app that accessed the iTunes Store, but lets you stream any of the songs you want. I’m sure Apple wouldn’t be happy since that would make Apple Music redundant, even though the other app is still using Apple’s infrastructure. Don’t really see how Google can be blamed here.
    One little difference, Apple Music/itune offer copyrighted material. YouTube you know....  It is like a  mafia saying a little guy stealing from him.
    jony0watto_cobrarandominternetpersonlolliver
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Damn.  Wish I'd snagged it before it got yanked.  I've been looking for an app that would go audio-only on YouTube.  No idea why Google doesn't make that a default option.  Sometimes you want to listen to a talk or a song in the car without eating up data with streaming video.  Idiots.
    lolliver
  • Reply 9 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member
    gatorguy said:
    It's easy to find anti-Google YouTube content, 180 degrees counter to what you imply.
    You know I'm talking about Google's new censorship and demonetization policy. You know I'm being hyperbolic to make the point.
    Which new policy is that TS? Are you referring to the "hate speech" which all the techs are trying to eliminate, Apple included? Why do you think Apple bans "Gab" from the Appstore, or why they have a policy of banning any apps that Apple feels are offensive based on their sometimes arbitrary determinations? Are they wrong to do this and how is Google's attitude towards "hate speech" different from Apple or Twitter...?

    Apple:
    Apps should not include content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste. Examples of such content include:
    Defamatory or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary about religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, or other targeted groups, particularly if the app is likely to place a targeted individual or group in harm’s way. Professional political satirists and humorists are generally exempt from this requirement...
    Inflammatory religious commentary or inaccurate or misleading quotations of religious texts.

    Google:
    We encourage free speech and try to defend your right to express unpopular points of view, but we don't permit hate speech. Hate speech refers to content that promotes violence against or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes, such as:
    • race or ethnic origin
    • religion
    • disability
    • gender
    • age
    • veteran status
    • sexual orientation/gender identity

    There is a fine line between what is and what is not considered to be hate speech. For instance, it is genearlly okay to criticize a nation-state, but if the primary purpose of the content is to incite hatred against a group of people solely based on their ethnicity, or if the content promotes violence based on any of these core attributes, like religion, it violates our policy.

    Twitter: 

    You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

    Seems like Google and Apple and Twitter are all on the same page. But Facebook is a bit different and I'm assuming is more aligned with your views?https://www.propublica.org/article/facebook-hate-speech-censorship-internal-documents-algorithms


    edited September 2017
  • Reply 10 of 20
    edited September 2017 tallest skil
  • Reply 11 of 20
    gatorguy said:
    Hate speech refers to
    By law, hate speech does not exist. Even without the law, hate speech would not exist.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member
    gatorguy said:
    Hate speech refers to
    By law, hate speech does not exist. Even without the law, hate speech would not exist.
    Think of it this way TS. Even if it might be LEGAL to say pretty much whatever you want you also have a LEGAL right under the Constitution to limit or even ban the "free speech" of a visitor to your home. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 13 of 20
    gatorguy said:
    or even ban the "free speech" of a visitor to your home. 
    When you’re the only game in town…

    The first amendment needs sub-law clarification. As the government cannot restrict one’s freedom of expression, any resource that receives government funding should not be able to restrict one’s freedom of expression, as its existence and actions are an extension of government whims. As such, rather than necessarily need to break up certain monopolistic companies (for this specific purpose alone), simply make it illegal (unconstitutional) for any group which receives government funding from engaging in censorship. That, ironically, will shut them the fuck up regarding their current crusades. It’ll also make them want to rely less on Daddy Government and Mommy Welfare.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member
    gatorguy said:
    or even ban the "free speech" of a visitor to your home. 
    When you’re the only game in town…

    The first amendment needs sub-law clarification. As the government cannot restrict one’s freedom of expression, any resource that receives government funding should not be able to restrict one’s freedom of expression, as its existence and actions are an extension of government whims. As such, rather than necessarily need to break up certain monopolistic companies (for this specific purpose alone), simply make it illegal (unconstitutional) for any group which receives government funding from engaging in censorship. That, ironically, will shut them the fuck up regarding their current crusades. It’ll also make them want to rely less on Daddy Government and Mommy Welfare.
    I don't have a particular issue with that at all, tho business relationships and/or oversight by some government regulatory agency certainly wouldn't qualify as "government assistance". But I have little doubt that some would try to twist and turn and distort the intent of the rules enough to stretch to those situations as well in which case we all end up with the gimb'ment trumping private property rights even more than they do now. Be careful what you wish for. 
  • Reply 15 of 20
    nhtnht Posts: 4,034member
    Please keep politics in the PO cesspool.  This is just about IP and has zip to do with censorship real or imagined.
    lolliver
  • Reply 16 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,261member
    nht said:
    Please keep politics in the PO cesspool.  This is just about IP and has zip to do with censorship real or imagined.
    Thanks for the prompt. You are absolutely correct. 
  • Reply 17 of 20
    Come ON, people. What is a poor monopoly bent on ruling the world supposed to do - allow competition, for heaven's sake? Get real.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    nht said:
    This is just about IP and has zip to do with censorship real or imagined.
    How are background playback and audio-only Google’s “intellectual property” when that’s stuff that is built into iOS for other apps anyway? At least now I understand why I can’t have a youtube video playing in the background as I switch to another tab anymore.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    nhtnht Posts: 4,034member
    nht said:
    This is just about IP and has zip to do with censorship real or imagined.
    How are background playback and audio-only Google’s “intellectual property” when that’s stuff that is built into iOS for other apps anyway? At least now I understand why I can’t have a youtube video playing in the background as I switch to another tab anymore.
    YouTube is Google's IP...one it seeks to monetize via YouTube Red.  If Google wants to limit 4K or 60 fps playback to paid users then having ProTube offering those as paid features is a non-starter for Google.  Presumably these costs Google more in terms of bandwidth, storage, etc.  I'm not generally a big fan of subscription for apps but anything that has recurring costs for the developer to keep active...ie downloads, cloud services, etc...it makes sense for subscriptions and I'll happily pay if I like the service.

    Gessner was able to sell these things as a fixed priced app because Google was paying all the recurring costs for bandwidth and servers.  It comes under the heading of "well, it was good while it lasted".
    gatorguy
  • Reply 20 of 20
    For those looking to fill the void of ProTube (which was a great application I must add), there are a couple of options but it all depends on what device you are using. Here are some off the top that I know about or heard of. 

    1. YouTube Red (https://www.youtube.com/red) is the subscription version for YouTube that promises an ad free experience for $9.99 a month. Available for phone and computer.
    COST: $9.99 a month
    2. You can also get Google Play Music for $9.99 a month and in the same bundle you gain access to YouTube Red. Available for phone and computer.
    COST: $9.99 a month
    3. YouBlocker is a 100% Ad-free YouTube experience. It comes in a native desktop app, and also allows you to use your media control keys to skip, play, and pause songs. Available for Mac, windows coming soon. Download for free here: http://youblocker.com
    COST: FREE
    4. Adblock Plus - This is a good option if you are looking for an extension to your web browser. http://www.adblockplus.org
    COST: FREE
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