Google appears to be testing (or rolling out) a new integration of Google+ into YouTube. Wil Wheaton, the Star Trek/Stand By Me actor, shares a screenshot of a Google+ button taking the place of the like button on YouTube:
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Wheaton had a strong reaction to the feature, which may be indicative of how many other YouTube users may soon feel. This is what he had to say on Tumblr:
Oh, go fuck yourself, Google. This is just as bad as companies forcing me to “like” something on Facebook before I can view whatever it is they want me to “like.”
Just let me thumbs up something, without forcing me to “upgrade” to G+, you dickheads.
The worst part of this? For a producer like me, I’m going to lose a crapton of potential upvotes for Tabletop, because the core of my audience is tech-savvy and may not want to “upgrade” to yet another fucking social network they don’t want or need.
Interesting point about missing out on upvotes.
He says it appeared while he was signed out of his Google+ account.
I can't say I'm surprised to see such a feature make its way to YouTube. Frankly, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. Google has been very clear about making Google+ the social layer or "social spine," in CEO Larry Page's words, across Google's various products. YouTube has been Google's strongest social property for a long time, and it makes sense that the two become more and more integrated.
Wheaton's words bring home a very serious point about Google's social efforts, however. YouTube has tons of users, and many of them could care less about Google+. Increased integration between the two could either go a long way in bringing more users to Google+ or alienating YouTube users. Perhaps both.
It's worth noting that Wheaton is actually an avid user of Google+, and has 1,377,525 followers. "I like Google Plus," he writes on his blog. "Some of the smartest people I've ever read are on Google Plus, and the Hangout is amazing. But Google is doing everything it can to force Google Plus on everyone, and it's pissing me off."
We've reached out to Google for more info about the feature: specifically if it's a test or an actual feature being rolled out.