Microsoft YouTube app for Windows Phone choking on errors, causing frustration amongst users

It’s been 24-hours since the surprise return of the Microsoft engineered YouTube app, thought to be complacent with Google’s terms of service (TOS). The app, as we reported extensively, is essentially the same as the one originally removed but now with pre-roll ads, no video downloads, voice and upload support.

While reviews and feedback from the app have been tremendously high, one of the core features of an “official” app is stability. The idea here is that since Microsoft is theoretically abiding by Google’s API requirements, the app should ideally never stop working (unlike third party apps). However, tonight it seems to be a fairly wide spread outage of the app on Windows Phone.

We tested the YouTube app on our Lumia 925 and Lumia 1020, on both Wi-Fi and cellular, and we were constantly met with the somewhat befuddling “Something happened and we’re not sure what” error message (see below). Nothing from YouTube would load and the app is basically dead in the water.

Users in the Windows Phone Central Forums and on reddit have experienced intermittent outages with the app’s service coming and going, seemingly in a random fashion.

Preliminary analysis

YouTube Error
The error Windows Phone users are experiencing

Our first hunch would be to presume a connection, somehow, between this outage and the and SkyDrive problems that Microsoft has been experiencing today e.g. that the app passes information first through Microsoft's servers. However, upon looking deeper at the information that the app is sending out, it looks to be something more fundamental.

The current problem with the YouTube app is that it appears to be using a “revoked developer key”, which is invalidating the app:

X-GData-Key: key=AI39si5YN5ADODc3kFpbnuzyiD8JgZoo6Ni2CEbEu2P_

According to Rafael Rivera (@withinrafael) who discerned the above information and assisted Windows Phone Central, that can only occur in two situations:

  1. Microsoft forgot to update the key with the new app release
  2. Google revoked it

Google revoking it is a plausible explanation should Microsoft not have received permission to publish the app within those API guidelines. Backing up this theory is the fact that the Windows Phone Blog never did an announcement post for the return of the YouTube app, which is a bit curious. Perhaps Microsoft has been caught off guard by a Google change?

However, this is Microsoft and forgetting to update the developer key in the app is certainly not out of the purview of potential blunders by the software company. So while it may be convenient to accuse Google for this, it could just as well be a Microsoft guffaw. We’re really not sure in this case.

Assuming this is just a Microsoft gaffe, Rivera suspects the developer key is hardcoded in the app, which means Microsoft can’t fix this via a simple server side change. Instead, an app update will be required.

Alternatively, if Google revoked it, it simply means the companies have not come to an agreement and Google is ratcheting up the response to a very aggressive level or that Google has made some backend changes, affecting numerous YouTube apps.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft, who is aware of the problem, for a statement on the matter. We’ll update this post accordingly when official information comes forward.

Update: It appears that the third party app MyTube is also having issues playing videos (after multiple plays), meaning this is looking like a Google change.


Reader comments

Microsoft YouTube app for Windows Phone choking on errors, causing frustration amongst users



Sorry to steal your comment, but if an app update is the only way to fix this issue, it might be Google's way of forcing everybody to update their app - even those who hadn't updated the original version and were still enjoying downloads and no ads.

Mytube is having its problem as well and that is you can only play 1 video and you gotta restart the app whenever you wanna see other videos.

I've been using it for my YouTube needs all day with no errors. I must of been lucky I guess.

Ya, same here. I think its just Google revoking WP apps period. I even sent the developer an error email since I thought I was the only one having this issue.

Wait nevermind, I got a reply from that email earlier, from Chris, he says he might have a fix and submit an update tonight!!! The myTube developers are so cool. ^3^

Weird, MyTube works just fine for me. YouTube app, nada.

Update: Ah I see, the first video plays fine, the second, not so much. Updated post.

My MetroTube stopped working.
I didn't uninstalled the oldest Microsoft's YouTube version 3.0.5015.1 and it stopped either.

Indeed. What's worse is my main Microsoft Hotmail account goes AWOL while my other Hotmail and office 365 account work just fine :(

It's more likely the second option as I still have the original Youtube app as I never updated it and am getting the same error.

Though if people are also having issues with MyTube then maybe there's a possibility that Google is purely just blocking Windows Phone apps instead completely? Because coming from Google that honestly wouldn't surprise me.

LOL Well, I guess this answers those who were questioning "Will this replace MetroTube?"

I think the answer is obvious now.

Oh, if YOU order I will obey... with it. If things aren't good I'm not going to pretend they are just to please a bunch of sissy-microsoft-worshipers.
People were asking if this app would replace MetroTube, the answer is no. An official app that stops working not even 24hours after its released is not a good sign at all.
Now go back to praying to your Balmer-framed photograph will you? ;)

Lol❕.. I was just joking with you,, sorry, that was mean.. Next time I'll put some "lolololol" on it.. I thought you would get in my ass about that.. Lol❕❕❕.. Balmers Sweaty arm pits❕❕ Lol.. That's your boi❕..

Well, it was bound to happen. Colateral damage. I'm so used to idiots on this site by now that I've stopped trying to figure out who's joking and who's just an idiot. :P
By the way..."boi" in Portuguese means "male cow" (not a bull, the other one. Don't know the name in English). So I just read "That's your male cow" lol

I just tried it out with 7 videos and my Metrotube still works fine. I am using WP7.8 with the lastest version of Metrotube.

I'm sorry, i'm not from the UK nor from the USA so it's not my motherlanguage :) at least you understand my message ;)

I understand the importance of this app, and its a shame that google/microsoft have continued to drop the ball with this "official" app. YouTube is a key component of many smartphone users day to day life, and nevermind the fact that almost a year later we are now just getting an official app, but one that's broken and unusable day 1. Yes there are great alternatives in supertube, metrotube etc, but "official" apps are what draw the average Jo to your phone, and this hurts WP8

Actually, it looks like Google changed something. Even third party apps like you mentioned are busted too. So this is bigger than just Microsoft.

Jesus h Christ, I said of most people. Most people view a clip linked from an article or a social network on YouTube a couple times a day. Dont worry about me getting out, I do just fine thanks :)

FWIW I've been enjoying PrimeTube a lot as an alternative client. But this kind of thing is why I haven't updated the MS YouTube client yet! :P

Whats wrong with Google, are they enjoying this? I really am pist about what they do, they don't respect any other company :s

They have the market cornered. Everyone uploads stuff to YouTube. What would you recommend instead?

vimeo has a bit stricter guidelines, if im not mistaken, and from its appearance, is more about creativity and original content (while youtube has everything from original content to covers, from family videos to vlogs.)

This is getting very old perhaps we need the government to step in and say enough of this shit on iPhone on Android on WP that should be the norm.

Which government would you have step in? With huge riots in Egypt, unrest in Syria and a global recession to deal with, somehow I think governments have more to worry about than a youtube app.

Definitely broken using mytube as well. This is getting ridiculous. Can't wait to hear their response.

Metrotube works but occasionally gets horribly blurry/laggy while playing videos. YouTube app gives that "we don't know what" error.

Quite embarrassing how bad Microsoft are at making apps, do they seriously think people are gonna buy Windows Phone if they have pathetic coding knowledge as this on their platform. One after another, if they don't want to go Blackberry's way they really need to pull their socks up and fast.

Wouldn't be surprised if this is Google's doing, just a bit weird that the app was submitted and has practically died before it was even a day old. Interestingly, I'm having no problems with MetroTube or Hyper on Windows 8, but am on Windows Phone, which is confusing.

I don't think it's a coding issue for some of the top developers in the world to forget some key. I think google has a problem with MS dominance. :)

O o, slow down my friend. And what did you say pathetic coding knowledge...dude, common you know what you talking about forget about knowledge.

You sir, need to keep up with things unless you're a troll in which case your just MS bashing. In case you didn't know, this is an official Google Youtube app; So what does that mean EVERYBODY??? Google needs to fix this SH*T & Fast. I wish they would stop playing these games and get their heads out of the A**es. I thought that more people using your app, no matter what platform is a good thing.

Maybe this is not truely analagous, but if MS shut down Google/Chrome on PCs, they would be in violation of so many national and international rules. If Google is indeed blocking YouTube, wouldn't that be the same? Maybe someone with a bit more knowledge on this matter can explain the difference if there is one.
I agree with Larry Ellison, Google is evil. I once liked them, but they are not the same company they once were. They are at the very core anti-competetive and invasive. I still have a gmail account, but that may soon be converted to a junk mail box. I really like MS, but I am also finding myself rooting for Apple against Google these days.
I do think MS needs to step away from negative ads, etc., and focus on the positives they offer. They are headed in the right direction in so many ways, but they are actually ahead of the curve right now...many people can't deal with progression and change, its somehow painful.

What has Google done for MS users that positive? I'll tell you, "They've absolutely, positively shut us out"? Making us wait a year for an app that breaks less than 24 hours after release. If MS doesn't say it, who will? Saying it here in this forum isn't getting out to the mainstream letting people know just how evil Google really is. The WPC member about has it right, they are anti-competitive and the DOJ should be all over this! But of course if it isn't MS, you can get away with everything.

Cant believe it after only, grats Google. And yes ppl ios and Android apps works fine on my Brother's phone. They really do think they are king of the world for a service..../sigh

I just successfully played 5 videos in a row with TubePro. And, the sixth one just started playing without any problem.

Google might have change a few things and app developers will need to update.....i would agree that they should put out information to approved developers....and we do not know maybe they do that maybe they don't....but really a crappy position if that's how they work

Ok this is an issue which should be talked about for knowledge......but man....some people get way out of hand....sell everything!!!!.....hope your not stock broker......

So who is going to start the class action lawsuit for the anticompetitive nature of Google? I thought Google has even given apps to BlackBerry which has a smaller market share compared to Windows Phone.

Well... I may have to discontinue use/boycott Youtube. It's the only Google service I use... and maybe I should just sever all ties.

Google must have had their fingers crossed behind their back while making the handshake with MS on this app.
Like a used car salesman, smiling as he takes your money... and just knowing that the Chevy Cavalier that he just sold you was going to break down on you 2 miles down the road!

metrotube on my ativ s is really crazy. some videos won't load, some keep playing over and over. creepy. worked fine 2 days ago.

Mytube is a better option... Has no one else noticed that this app slowly chews through other storage...

I literally saw it eat 500MB almost in a hour of watching High quality videos. Only want it for uploading now but even that is a no go now!

Same problem here on my HTC 8X. Is Android's YouTube app facing similar issues? If not, then it cannot be a cause of an API change cause that would affect all apps across all platforms. Which means this could only be targeting Microsoft platform YouTube apps...possibly.

Unless, they updated a few days before this happened. Hard to tell since I will never pick up another android device again.

I wish google would focus on innovating rather than this poor behavior. What happened to improving the human experience for everyone... I guess this is what happens when companies stopped caring

It caused my Lumia710 to overheat and the touchscreen to stop working after watching videos for more than 10 minutes. No such issues with other youtube apps. Anyone had this problem?

Other third party apps are far better than this *OFFICIAL APP*...
Something's wrong, and they are not sure what....
Lol, then why the hell did they release it.?

The app was pretty good, but Google isn't playing nice. People have reported problems with 3rd party YouTube apps too, including metrotube.

Did that years ago with Earth, only time I had Chrome was when it was snuck in with another install - sneaky bastards do that a lot, quickly deleted.

Commenting about the problem. I think Google doesn't want easily give their apps without their permission. YouTube is Google product.

Oh, I would like to ask too, I don't find MetroTube available on Store (region USA). There are only Metro Maps, Metro Rouen, Metro Plaque. Where is MetroTube available?

I tried it out yesterday, started a video and let it play for like ten minutes. When i picked up my phone it was hot. I don't mean warm or slightly hot like when using mytube. It was borderline painfully hot. I have to check how this drains battery.

It's not antitrust for Google to single out Microsoft. They would have trouble if they withheld the app from all competing platforms. But to single out Microsoft is A-OK.

YouTube videos in an app I'm making are working correctly either, just started today.
They work fine on my PC through the WP emulator but are not updating correctly on the phone.

Yeah not working on my 1020, first version with "update badge" on my 920 still works, Mytube plays one video then have to exit and re enter to play again, metrotube same as MS YouTube app.. Broken. Google is an absolute wanker if only Microsoft could get along with the maggots @Google. What company gave google their start?