YouTube is about to join the fold of Google+ in a more tightly knit and cohesive way. No longer will you be able to simply Like a video, now you'll be giving it a +1 according to recent reports of a big switch over at the world's largest online video site.
I think the Google +1 button is part of this new initiative they have to tighten integration between YouTube and Google+. They've even got a whole page that talks about it here. As far as the claims of the Google +1 button being on YouTube, I was unable to replicate it yet. I used Opera, Firefox and yes, even Chrome, with two different Google/YouTube accounts, both of which have Google+ profiles and I still couldn't replicate it. I even logged out while in Chrome and still couldn't trigger the +1 button. So if they are testing this, it's very limited, perhaps based on certain YouTube user levels or geographic location. Odd, because my main Google account is in a slew of their beta programs and I couldn't dig it up.
Fortunately, our friend Julie Perry caught the plus button in action. PS - Thanks Julie for alerting us via a Google+ post, kinda ironic.
What is GooTube+ Doing?
Why do we care? Well first off, Google is pretty much looking to force everyone into their social endeavor and it seems they're going to force it on YouTube users who may or may not want it. We all know that Google doesn't really listen to "Opting out," I mean, that whole Safari user info fiasco should be more than enough to show that.
[Personally, I'm still down on Google for their overbearing use of a stoppage page on a malware threat for my own website when they could neither confirm nor find any malicious code, but it seems that the common sense department of Google went on holiday and the shoehorn department took over. You know, that department full of yes-men who simply implement whatever they are told without rhyme or reason, who don't bother checking with the community before making broad sweeping changes, yeah, those guys.]
Again, I haven't been able to actually see the Google +1 button on YouTube but I don't doubt that they are working on rolling that out. The days of trying to keep your YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and other accounts separate are rapidly dwindling away and soon it will be Big Brother or bust!
I'm going for bust. So, I did something I almost never do. I fired up Internet Explorer and I went to open a new YouTube Channel. The third field, requires you to choose a Google username which, in turn, creates a Gmail account for you. No, you can't leave it empty, it hates on your for that.
The very last thing on the sign up form first page, is this:
Google may use my account information to personalize +1s on content and ads on non-Google websites. About personalization.
I turned it off to see what they say, which was nothing, they just pushed me to page two and, AHA!
Here it is:
Your profileNow that you have a Google Account, create your Google profile. It's how you represent yourself publicly on the web, and helps friends and family find each other easily. Your profile also lets you publicly "+1" things you love on the web, so you and your friends benefit from each other's impeccable taste – in search results, on sites across the web, even on ads. Your profile is public, and can include as little as your name, or as much as you feel like adding – it's up to you. About profiles.
Google+ is more than just another site to visit. It's a new way to communicate across all of Google. Whether you're using Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Search, or any other Google product, Google+ makes it easy to share the right things with the right people. About Google+.
When I got to YouTube, it looked... exactly the same. Not a single thing had changed, except that now I had yet another Google+ profile and YouTube Channel.
Now someone else on the web, was all like "OMG! There's a G+1 button on YouTube!" but to me it's more like "meh, they're doing away with the Like button." I mean really, you knew it was coming, right? One of the major complaints about Google+ when it arrived was "what the hell, no YouTube integration?!"
Now they're starting to do that and people are like "What the hell!? YouTube integration?!"
Alright So, What Does YouTube+ Mean For You?
Well first off, a YouTube Like did little for SEO. Meanwhile, Google has already stated that +1 does have an impact on search results in some small way, specifically it will show you results from others in your Circles that have +1'd something, etc. So it's turned a Like into something that now could have that video turn up on search engine results pages, or at least they're working on doing it.
What they're really doing is taking a somewhat subjective, fairly useless social mechanic and turning it into something semi-useful. Well, useful for those with Google+ accounts, or YouTube account of GooTube+ accounts...whatever they're going to be called.
In order to have the Liking of a YouTube video be relevant, they had to tie it into other social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Orkut. Now, they're saying stuff that noise, it's tied directly to Google+.
That makes me wonder, will wording on those notifications change to "So-and-so +1'd video on YouTube" which will then show up on your Facebook timeline (another crap idea right there, timeline) and on your Twitter feeds? I bet it will, and it will still show up on Google SERPs.
You know you can already +1 a video right? It's under Share. So it seems that the big change is they're moving it out of there, and getting rid of Like. That probably means they're going to get rid of Dislike and it makes me wonder; Will they make a -1 Button?