Google’s Relentless Campaign to Make Google+ Work Becomes YouTube’s Problem

YouTube faces mounting criticism for tying its comment section to the social platform

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Kiyoshi Ota / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Netizens are lambasting YouTube for its new Google+-powered comments section, lifting the veil of anonymity that’s long shielded users and given the video platform a notorious reputation for its troll-friendly trove of rants.

Last week YouTube mandated users sign up for Google+, its social network, before commenting on a video, which links a YouTube account to an actual identity. The move touched off an outpouring of criticism, prompting a Change.org petition that’s collected more than 100,000 signatures in less than a week and a host of Reddit users to spam the Google products forum with more than 430,000 complaints. Even YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim questioned the policy on his page in the only other post visible besides his first video upload in 2005.

The new policy, which Google first announced in September, is aiming to turn the section into a conversation, a YouTube spokesperson tells TIME, ranking the comments according to “relevance” through up-votes and a user’s online profile. The strategy is likely a move to compete with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, allowing Google+-connected comments to appear at the top of the unfiltered threads.

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The bulk of Google’s $50 billion in annual revenue still comes from search-related ads. Analysts estimate that YouTube on its own is now about a $4 billion business. But as Google builds up and diversifies the video-sharing site—it is pushing cable-like branded channels, for instance—the company has increasingly shown itself willing to experiment with the site’s fundamental parts. Integrating Google+ is not only an attempt to clean up comments, but also make parts of YouTube more search engine friendly.

Users can still control what’s visible to their Google+ profile, but the comments are nonetheless linked. With YouTube’s more than 800 million unique monthly users and 100 million people liking, sharing and commenting every week, the move is an obvious boon to Google’s social network that’s struggled to keep up with Facebook. Google has been relentless in its efforts to attract more users . Last month Google+ touted a 58% jump in users over recent months and 300 million monthly active users, but tech bloggers remain dubious about the credibility of those numbers since most of Google’s products are integrated with the platform.

Paul Colligan, author of YouTube Strategies: Making and Marketing Online Video, says the outrage over YouTube’s new policy is a waste of time. “They bet the farm on Google+ awhile ago,” he tells TIME, which means that it was inevitable that YouTube would eventually cement its connection the social media platform. In fact, YouTube began offering the option more than a year ago when a box appeared on the site urging users to link their YouTube account to Google. A lot of users clicked the box without realizing the implication. In fact, four out of five users had already connected their account prior to last week’s update, according to a YouTube spokesperson.

While the idea of promoting civil discourse by forcing accountability makes sense, it’s unlikely to happen. As Politico and TechCrunch have shown, powering a comments section through a social media platform—with users’ real-life identities—doesn’t do much for traffic. Both organizations reverted back to anonymous comments after experimenting with a Facebook-linked system. The strategy did little to foster better dialogue and even less to drive more comments. YouTube’s trolling may decrease, but it may come at great cost.

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Rather, Colligan thinks the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest will benefit from the backlash with users embedding video links on other platforms to circumvent the policy while still generating conversation. It’s too soon to tell how dramatic the policy’s impact will be, but a YouTube spokesperson says there’s always room for improvement.

However, it is unlikely Google would give up an opportunity to capture the massive YouTube audience. Colligan thinks the die has been cast. “There’s no going back,” he says. “And there can’t be.”

253 comments
Rost
Rost

I am having issues with Embedded Google+  adds that pop-up in youtube , I have checked Po-pups are not blocked and  what happens is the thing that I am watching freezes, I reload the page and skip past the part that stops and the item I am viewing continues on, now what ever the add was I don't see sense it froze and did not pop up a add or open a add i have to watch, the thing I noticed next was i had no way to let them know this  on the youtube site clicking on the google+ hyper link took me to a spot to  buy a add , become a member to do adds.

cityguyusa
cityguyusa

Google+ blows and has done nothing but complicate Youtube logons, receiving new video notifications, setting up profiles....I don't even know what is what with all these convoluted hooks from Google+ to other Google services.

MattStriker
MattStriker

they still haven't apologized for destroying youtube after their little google integration, ever since 2012 youtube has been going down f-ing hill and i view them as this generations "AOL"

patdowhn
patdowhn

2 months in and still hating Google.  Spread the word!

AlexKing1
AlexKing1

It's disgusting that a company that who pretends they care about privacy is cajoling people into putting their full names onto every comment they make on every video. Disgusting. Now I can't use youtube anymore if i don't join Google's public profile social network bull----. Unbelievable. I wish NO ONE would stand for this, then the problem would be solved. Can't wait to get rid of my Nexus, these people are sick.

Speedddogg
Speedddogg

I think Google is missing the point. Forcing people to link their Youtube accounts to Google+ plus, doesn't mean they're gonna use it.


Honestly i forget its there most of the time.

EddyMafiosi
EddyMafiosi

HAS nothing to do with wanting to be anonymous and everything to do with forcing an added UNWANTED social media application on everyone.

Bellablue
Bellablue

Instead of Google wasting time with changing the format of commenting on youtube with Google+,  they need to address the serious problem of allowing defamatory, malicious false complaints written about people on complaint sites. Google makes billiions of dollars on advertising, and some of those advertisments appear on complaint sites !---how degrading. It is time for all good men to come to the aide of the internet and start protesting about this. How dare Google hide behind the Communications Decency Act.  This is not freedom of speech---it is time for Google to get real.

patdowhn
patdowhn

Google has made itself forever my enemy.  As Google's rampant greed and intention to infiltrate and control every aspect of daily life I can only hope the people refuse to become mere sheep and fight Google as best they can.


a7medoo2003
a7medoo2003

══════∩═════   

    ╭╬╮       ◢ 
▁╭▅▆▇□□█▇▆▅▄▃▂▁(╳)█╮  WE HAVE TO KILL THE OWNER OF GOOGLE+
╰═BOB ARMY▃__▁▁▁▁▁∠▔▔▔     
  ╙O ╙O

══════∩═════   

    ╭╬╮       ◢ 
▁╭▅▆▇□□█▇▆▅▄▃▂▁(╳)█╮  
╰═BOB ARMY▃__▁▁▁▁▁∠▔▔▔     
  ╙O ╙O

 ══════∩═════   

    ╭╬╮       ◢ 
▁╭▅▆▇□□█▇▆▅▄▃▂▁(╳)█╮  
╰═BOB ARMY▃__▁▁▁▁▁∠▔▔▔     
  ╙O ╙O

 ══════∩═════   

    ╭╬╮       ◢ 
▁╭▅▆▇□□█▇▆▅▄▃▂▁(╳)█╮  
╰═BOB ARMY▃__▁▁▁▁▁∠▔▔▔     
  ╙O ╙O



redredgreengreen
redredgreengreen

           ░███████ ]▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄         Bob is building an army. 
    ▂▄▅█████████▅▄▃▂      ☻/ This tank & Bob are against Google+ and the 
Il███████████████████].  /▌  "New" youtube.  Copy and Paste this all over 
    ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤..   / \   Everywhere if you are with us


SIGN THESE TO FIX YOUTUBE


http://www.change.org/petitions/google-change-the-youtube-comment-section-back-to-its-original-form http://www.change.org/petitions/youtube-and-google-bring-back-the-old-comment-system-and-stop-forcing-google-on-those-that-don-t-want-it

TimeBlogSucks123455
TimeBlogSucks123455

Dear Time.com, first time commenting on your blog and last time commenting on your blog. You obviously don't look at your comments. Completely inappropriate. 

kl45
kl45

wow spam galor

kl45
kl45

google plus is trying to turn youtube into the new facebook

DaedraSnqp
DaedraSnqp

S.U.C.K                ▄█▀█▀█▄  

MY D1CK         ▄█▀  █  ▀█▄  

GOOGLE+      ▄█▀       ▀█▄  

COMMENTS   █          █  

                   █           █  

COPY/PASTE   ▀█▄▄   █    ▄█▀  

THIS SH1T     █  ▄▀▄  █  

ON EVERY      █  ▀  ▀  █  

VIDEO      █       █  

         █       █  

OR WE'LL NEVER  █       █  

GET YOUTUBE  █       █  

BACK       █       █  

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scoobas
scoobas

░░░░░░███████ ]▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄          Bob is building an army.

▂▄▅█████████▅▄▃▂           ☻/   This tank & Bob are against Google+
Il███████████████████].      /▌    Copy and Paste this all over 
  ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤..      / \     Youtube if you are with us.

SpencerMoody
SpencerMoody

░░░░░███████ ]▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄          Bob is building an army. 

▂▄▅█████████▅▄▃▂           ☻/   This tank & Bob are against Google+ 
Il███████████████████].      /▌    Copy and Paste this all over 
  ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤..      / \     Youtube if you are with us!    


    ▅████▅]▂▂▂▂
Il████████████▅].       
  ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤..

    ▅████▅]▂▂▂▂
Il████████████▅].       
  ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤..  
   ▅████▅]▂▂▂▂
Il████████████▅].       
  ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤..

   ▅████▅]▂▂▂▂
Il████████████▅].       
  ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤..  CHARGE!! KILL ALL GOOGLE!!!

JeffyThomas
JeffyThomas


           ☻/☻/☻/☻/
▂▄▅ /▌ /▌ /▌ /▌ ██▅▃▂ World War lll has begun! Help Bob in the war
I███████████████████]     against Google+! Copy & Paste
◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤

LukasBlignaut
LukasBlignaut

besides the loss of privacy and the blatant disregard for business etiquette and consumer affairs, Google actually succeeded in making the comment section much worse. The comment system used to be filled with hate speech and spam, but thanks to the filters and limits in place that was all it was. Now the filters that protected users from virus links, ASCII penises, and full pirated copies of Mein Kampf are gone and youtube now has worse comment sections than adult porn websites. The reason people are mad isn't because they are afraid to show their face next to a comment, it's because the new comment system is in every possible way worse than the previous one and the only reason Google followed through on it was to increase ad revenue on google+. 

Kerplunky
Kerplunky

Joining Google+ means relinquishing another shred of privacy that is left on the internet. It's not actually true that one's Google+ profile can be hidden, and I just don't want the profile to exist at all. There are different interests and different conversations that one conducts in real life, depending on whom one is speaking to. It's the same on the web. Having your real name on everything simply makes no sense. I may not want my boss to know that I am a fan of One Direction. that doesn't mean I'm a troll. This is awful, but what can we do? Why aren't there droves of competitors who want to profit by emulating these companies that have a stranglehold on the web?

daftdudejp
daftdudejp

                                   THIS IS WAR !!!      
         ▅███]▄▂▂               ▅███]▄▂▂ ☻/ ☻/ Bob is building an ARMY
Il▅████████▅].       Il▅████████▅].  /▌  /▌  This  tank& Bob are against 
  ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤.         ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤    / \  / \  Google+
        ▅███]▄▂▂              ▅███]▄▂▂ ☻/☻/    Copy and Paste this all over
Il▅████████▅].     Il▅████████▅]   /▌ /▌     YouTube if you are with us
  ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤.      ◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤.    / \ / \

trlkly
trlkly

Why in the world does everyone present it as either "Go back to the old comments" or "keep it the same"? The point is that the rollout was horrible. Obviously they aren't going to pull back, but they can at least actually fix the problems. 

People wanting the old comments section back are just saying that because, in their minds, that's the easier solution. But if Google is dead set against that (though honestly they should consider it as a temporary measure, since the system is that bad), they need to start making the new comments system at least as good as the old system.

The upper tiers of YouTube contributors aren't disabling YouTube comments because it's different and they don't like it. They have legitimate concerns, concerns that Google has shown no sign of addressing.

A system where the spam is all people see--and now that spam can link to malware--is not a better system. To be honest, it's even worse that Google+ ever was. That took work.

lkellam21
lkellam21

I just find it ironic that they claim to be making the comments section better for discussions. When I want to follow a thread of conversation, I can't look at the comment that someone has replied to, by simply clicking on the link to the previous comment. and if I can find the original comment, the replies are not in order chronologically. And if someone points out something about a certain time in the video, I cannot click on the time they wrote in their comment to go to that time in the video. These functions were available before, some of them pretty new additions - and they were great improvements! But I'm pretty sad to see these go, and then hear all about how Google is improving conversations on YouTube. If they give those features back, I might be less irritated with them - but for now, I guess I've just got to deal with it. 

And I might as well post this from my Google account, since I have to be signed in to it pretty much constantly these days.

DropjawBertone
DropjawBertone

@lkellam21 Totally agree. The comments section had those new features you mentioned and they made things much better. Then Google takes over and gets rid of these great features, thus making it worse... and then has the gall to say their way is better. Ridiculous... but typical.

mike.elgan
mike.elgan

Actually, they did this because Google+ DOES work. For comments, it works better than any thing on the Internet anywhere. 

trlkly
trlkly

@mike.elgan Care to back that up with something more than just hot air? Like what about Google+'s system actually works? Because what I see right now is page upon page where the first page of comments are inundated with fights and ascii art. 

And I've still yet to get notified by email when someone commented on anything I've said on YouTube. I used to have new emails every day, allowing me to have a discussion. I've had none of that now.

Before saying something stupid, actually go check out what the other argument is. If you want to be taken seriously, that is.

Unthinking commenters like yourself are exactly the problem with the new system.

blocklori
blocklori

══════∩═════   
    ╭╬╮       ◢ 
▁╭▅▆▇□□█▇▆▅▄▃▂▁(╳)█╮  Air support is here,Bob.  
╰═google▃__▁▁▁▁▁∠▔▔▔     
  ╙O ╙O

Concerned100
Concerned100

Funny thing is that this reminds me of the time when Coke and Pepsi sales were sagging and they started a slagging war against each other. Sales in both companies went up.

Do you not now think you are being used by both companies as unpaid promoters?

annjoy.viewster
annjoy.viewster

@Concerned100 I guess that's true, and all the spam and hate is just boosting the numbers of views and users, which Google is perfectly comfortable with. 

hans.aresch
hans.aresch

Youtube was the closest thing to a public forum on the internet. That's precisely what makes its comment section so "bad", but what actually makes, or rather: made, it so good. This is an inevitable quality of a public space: you have chance encounters with people who are completely different from yourself. By contrast, so-called "social networking" forums produce an appalingly bland and generic uniformity among its users.

The disgusting corporate claqueurs who pat each other on the back over at Google+ about how they "finally stuck it to the trolls" are cynically aware of what the changes really mean: Youtube's destruction as a public forum. To them, that ideological component is imho much more important than any financial incentive that may or may not also have played into Google's decisions. At its core, the changes are an ideological operation. Just my 2 cents.

lmaganamus
lmaganamus

▂▂
▌   |
▌  ☻   Bob has been hung for War Crimes against Google+.
▌  /▌\    Copy and paste to spread the word.
▌  / \

█████████████   

ByteMarx
ByteMarx

I don't understand all the faux rage, it's pretty easy to setup fake G+ accounts and troll-comment your heart out.

trlkly
trlkly

@ByteMarx Then inform yourself about why the system doesn't work. It's not hard. The fact that you think people are upset because they can't troll is ridiculous.

clownwarz
clownwarz

@ByteMarx  First of all, I resent the idea that only trolls care about the right to not live their life in public.  It needs to be a personal choice to use your real name or not.   Google could easily give us the right to globally block belligerant users, they're chosing a less effective, riskier strategy that maximixes their business model.

We can't avoid this question; it's too important.    Pretending to agree and setting up a fake account is not going to resolve this.  A year or two down the road, if Google starts to clamp down,  it'll be too late.  We'll have already lost the right to decide for ourselves.

curaecivem
curaecivem

@ByteMarx I made a t-shirt for you.

ifjvassn
ifjvassn

My problem is that I cannot even make a comment on Youtube anymore... anybody with the same experience?

firstsintax
firstsintax

(#._.)                        People of YouTube we must get the old comment system

  <,︻╦╤─                     back! Grab a weapon and copy and paste this!
 /""""""""""""\=======     ,︻╦╤─   ,︻╦╤─   ,︻╦╤─   ,︻╦╤─   ,︻╦╤─
 /"""""""""""""""""""\            ,︻╦╤─   ,︻╦╤─  ,︻╦╤─    ,︻╦╤─  ,︻╦╤─

Alvero
Alvero

Come on people, man up! There's nothing stopping you from having multiple Google accounts. I personally have 17 operational Google accounts which I use for commenting on various systems eg Disqus.

trlkly
trlkly

@Alvero How in the world does that fix a broken comments system? Why do so many of you think the problem is how many accounts you have? Do you actually use the comments system? Have you not noticed the rise in spam posts, the Ascii art, the YouTubers who have disabled comments on their videos, the malware links, the fact that you don't get email notifications, etc?

winged-one
winged-one

I hated G+ at first but I have to admit the way you get notifications on your replies and how conversations work is an improvement. In the old system you had to check your email constantly if you wanted to keep track of a conversation. There's a lot of things that need to be fixed still but In my opinion G+ is not so bad.


In fact the only reason we have Bob is because of how the new comment system works :p

BenGaieck
BenGaieck

@winged-one  I also find the G+ communities to be very refreshing.  I've met a lot of new people that way.    If there's one thing where G+ beats fb it's in meeting new people that have similar interests as you.     In short, fb is better for meeting people you already know, G+ is better for finding new people to kvetsh with . 

trlkly
trlkly

@BenGaieck @winged-one What in the world does that have to do the YouTube comments system? 

And why in the world would you want to share your real name with strangers? Sure, you can comment on YouTube without your real name, but using Google+ communities requires you to share your real name. And until you participate in that community, you don't know who is in there. 

I've met enough people online to know better than give them any way of contacting me in real life. I know guys who had people track them down and call them at their grandmother's funeral. I know people who think there's no such thing as rape. Why would you trust those people with real info about yourself?

Facebook focuses on people you already know because you need to really know someone before you let them into your real life. It just took me two seconds to find you on YouTube because of you using your real name. The only reason I didn't harrass you there to make a point is that I don't want to reveal my pseudonym to a stranger like yourself.

It would not be much harder to track down your address, either.

Tardis247
Tardis247

           ^        Bob has decided that nuclear

 ☻/      /  \         weapons are the only way to fix youtube.
 /▌       |☢|       Copy and Paste this all over youtube
 / \       //||\\          to completely obliterate Google+

ArtisticDreamer
ArtisticDreamer

bob actually managed to get this much attention? lol who the heck started it?

URreadingmyaccn
URreadingmyaccn

░░███████ ]▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄ Bob is building an army.
▂▄▅█████████▅▄▃▂          ☻/ This tank & Bob are against Google+
Il███████████████████].   /▌ Copy and Paste this all over
◥⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙▲⊙◤..    / \ Youtube if you are with us