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_lgdk85DMMp9kOXlDNrTXNd33q2gCN21-GHgZeyJ-7UWwIcYE7EAQxg

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.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I couldn't even find it in the store when I checked earlier. (WP7.8, Ireland)
  • 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.
  • Lol still using the best version here, and have my 1 update badge of honor.
  • I'm using the original version too. However, that seems to be having the same issue.
  • Lol, I updated once the new app came out.
  • I never even installed it, using Tube Pro actually. it seems to a overall better app.
  • Never updated my fiance's lumia YouTube app
  • I like mytube though.
  • 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 contacted Chris, he said he's working on a fix. YouTube changed their API obviously.
  • Even mytube is having problems :(
  • That's weird, considering I'm having some similar issues with "myTube".
  • That app is too slow :/ I hope they fix it soon :)
  • +1
  • I've been using it for my YouTube needs all day with no errors. I must of been lucky I guess.
  • MyTube. Same thing.
  • 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^
  • Yay!
  • Ridiculous if they did. There is no reason. Other than we're giving android too much competition!
  • myTube's working fine for me..
  • Not for meh:/
  • 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.
  • Yeah its weird. I got one to play fine, then tried playing another and just got error after error.
  • MetroTube does the same thing. Google changed something.
  • API's?
  • The same way vine changed something.
  • My MetroTube stopped working.
    I didn't uninstalled the oldest Microsoft's YouTube version 3.0.5015.1 and it stopped either.
  • It's been working great for me.. :-) Lumia 928
  • Why do you guys even care... Use Metrotube instead. The BEST youtube app period.
  • This statement shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how this business works.
  • Lol...loyalty fail
  • You haven't tried Mytube
  • Metrotube won't work either if it's a change to the API!!!!
  • Yeah, but for me works excelent, no changes at all, not even on Tube Pro.
  • Everything stops playing when you open settings or leave the app.. I don't remember it doing that before?
  • First my MS account won't sync and now this..
  • This... 2 problems in the same day =..=
  • Indeed. What's worse is my main Microsoft Hotmail account goes AWOL while my other Hotmail and office 365 account work just fine :(
  • If it's email refusing to sync then that's a known issue that's being fixed.
  • 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.
  • Maybe, though we haven't had many (if any) complaints about MyTube today. Plenty on the YouTube app. 
  • MetroTube is dead as well now
  • MetroTube works fine for me.
  • I never updated it.....does that mean the current one I have will run fine
  • I mean, you'd be the one in the best position to answer that, no? lol
  • Actually I just check it doesn't work
  • LOL Well, I guess this answers those who were questioning "Will this replace MetroTube?" I think the answer is obvious now.
  • Ok DJCBS.. Enough negativity already.. Geeeezzz.. Everyday YOU❕
  • 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
  • Yes metro tube works fine, but I am sure they will fix the you tube app very soon...
  • Trying playing a few videos (3 or more) in MetroTube...mine stopped working after that.
  • 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 just watched 5 short videos in a row, works fine.
  • I've just played all the videos on my favourites (9) without a problem on MetroTube.
  • MetroTube works just fine for me.
  • I can't even find it!
  • Fuvk it❕... Metrotube..
  • It's not just Microsoft's youtube app, Youtube HD won't play any vids either.
  • I thought I was alone on this. I think google is at it again.
  • Metrotube is working with no problems.
  • perhaps only certain metrotube users are being hit?
    I swear they're watching this blog, smiling...sick bastards.
  • Lol. Most likely.
  • Yeah right, i really want to launch a bom on that poor company!
  • Nuclear. /? :D
  • No, a Tallboy should do it.
  • I swear if google revoked it I'll...
  • You'll what?
  • I'll launch a bom on them !
  • Someone needs to retake English... its spelled "bomb"
  • Maybe he spelled it wrong in two comments to avoid the NSA codeword scans on the interwebz?
  • based on their misspelling bellow, ill take "nope." for 200.
  • 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 ;)
  • Must be Google fking around again. Using Metrotube like a boss with no ads...
  • 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.
  • That's why I put google AND microsoft
  • "key component of day to day life"... Alrighty then...
  • Exactly what i was thinking. If Youtube is a "key component of your day to day life" you seriously need to get out more!
  • 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
  • Original YouTube app has the same problem
  • I like ur username, reminds me of my dog..........ya I know, totally unrelated.
  • What was it called?
  • Rootin tootin cletus
  • Ruthie
  • Whats wrong with Google, are they enjoying this? I really am pist about what they do, they don't respect any other company :s
  • It's "pissed". (you may wanna get spell check)
  • Right.
  • No, no, no. He means he is part of the punk band:
  • Yeah lol hardcore ....
  • It's 'want to'
  • Something has happened and we're not sure what
  • Still using YouTube in 2013. I seriously hope you guys don't do this.
  • They have the market cornered. Everyone uploads stuff to YouTube. What would you recommend instead?
  • How about vimeo?
  • 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.)
  • How about MeTube
  • Lol. Right, because who would EVER use YouTube, am I right? What an odd comment.
  • 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.
  • Just tried using the new app now, and I'm experiencing the error. Hope the fix comes soon!
  • Oh wells, back to I.E YouTube again I guess. Hope all the apps get updated soon.
  • Damn you Google
  • 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.
  • That's a lot of assumptions to go on, especially if this is a Google change.
  • 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.
  • Go troll somewhere else.
  • Troll harder.
  • 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.
  • Uninstalling...
  • 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 had yt problem on galaxy tab2 and no problem on metrotube on lumia 710
  • Thinking of Galaxy S III Mini...
  • Because of YouTube? Seriously?
  • I need apps...
  • >MetroTube
  • 3rd party, unofficial apps are soap but they taste like cheese. MetroTube != YouTube
  • Apps on a non flagship android phone.. ... Bleh
  • Thinking of HTC One X it's getting Sense 5. That UI is super slick and smooth
  • Google is Geevil! 
  • I just successfully played 5 videos in a row with TubePro. And, the sixth one just started playing without any problem.
  • I should have never updated the app. I've had it since it first came out and it worked fine.
  • Agreed. Google and MS better kiss and make up.
  • I did not update and have original but that one is also affected by this. Its google.
  • Oh wow. I guess I would have been screwed either way then lol
  • I knew I should've waited. MS gotta be pissed.
  • Google sucks! Why do people trust this pos company?
  • 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
  • for the mean time i will use vimeo apps for watching video:)
  • I'm telling you its google. They are not to be trusted. Scallywags.
  • 'Compliant', not 'complacent'.
  • And my hatred for Google continues...don't use any of their services besides YouTube for obvious reasons.
  • Glad Microsoft is aware
  • 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......
  • What the hell...
  • Unofficial apps are soap but they taste like cheese.
  • That was...very insightful...I guess.
  • What? Soap...cheese...wth are you talking about?
  • I'll explain later.
  • Yes. Mine worked fine this morning now its craping out. Probably going back to Pro.