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Is Google Forcing Google+ Down People’s Throats?

Or is it making Google's products better?

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Earlier this week, actor/Internet celebrity Wil Wheaton posted a pretty interesting rant about Google on his blog, and on his Tumblr. Specifically, it was about a feature he spotted on YouTube, which placed a Google+ like button in the spot where the YouTube thumbs up button would normally be. It would prompt users to upgrade to Google+ when not signed in. We asked Wheaton for some additional thoughts on the subject. He seemed somewhat eager to oblige, saying that “this whole thing has struck a nerve”.

Do you want to see more or less Google+ across Google’s various products? Let us know in the comments.

Wheaton, probably best known for his roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation and in the film Stand By Me, currently has a show called Tabletop on the Geek and Sundry premium YouTube channel.

The feature was only a Google experiment, and it’s very likely that only a few people actually saw it. We spoke with a Googler about the feature. Here’s the official statement: “We’re always experimenting to help users find, watch and share the videos that matter most to them, on YouTube and across all of Google’s products including Google+. Depending on user feedback, some of these experiments may become options for users and some may not.”

Here’s that it looked like:

Google plus on youtube

Google does run experiments all the time. That’s nothing new, but we also know that Google is very serious about making Google+ a much bigger part of the larger Google. As CEO Larry Page described Google+ during the company’s latest earnings call, Google+ has two parts: the social destination (what most people think of as Google+) and the social spine (the social layer that is spread across most of Google’s products). While the former part will no doubt grow and get more feature-rich as time goes on, the latter part is the one that seems really crucial to the company, and with its recently consolidated privacy policies, Google should have more freedom to use users’ data from product to product. Like say, from YouTube to Google.

So, while this particular experiment may never see the light of day as a full-blown feature, it seems likely that Google will continue to look for more and more ways to integrate YouTube (or for that matter every other Google product) and Google+.

I found Wheaton’s rant about the feature interesting for various reasons. For one, he’s an avid Google+ user. It would be one thing if he wasn’t, but he is. He has 1,377,525 followers. He likes Google+. It’s not about that. Another reason is something he said in his blog post about how this could cost his video upvotes on YouTube. It’s a pretty good point. Not all YouTube users use Google+. YouTube has established itself quite well over the years. It’s often cited as even being the second largest search engine, after Google itself. A whole lot of people use YouTube every day. A lot more than use Google+, the social destination.

“The only reason that matters is because it’s part of how Google will decide who gets another season of the shows they’re sponsoring,” Wheaton tells WebProNews. “I want to be very clear about this: when I made my post on Tumblr, I wasn’t even thinking of that. I was thinking about how Google is forcing people who don’t want or need Google+ to sign up and use it.”

We asked Wheaton what are some ways he thinks Google could integrate Google+ and YouTube without pissing people off.

“Give users an option, and respect their choice,” he says. “Make G+ so incredibly amazing, people don’t want to ignore it, but if they do, leave them alone and quit messing with their existing user experience.”

“G+ and YouTube are both great on their own. They don’t need to be integrated,” he says. Still, when asked about what Google+ features he’d like to see on YouTube, he says, “More meaningful and intelligent comments from users. I have a G+ circle that’s called Smart People, and it’s one that I have a hard time keeping up with. It would be nice if ‘YouTube comment’ wasn’t a punchline.”

We asked Wheaton more generally, if Google should push Google+ more into its other products.

“Only if they want to alienate even more users,” he says . “There’s a reason so many people use browser extensions like Disconnect; not everyone wants to be social on the Internet.”

“This is where Google is making a huge and annoying mistake,” he adds. “You can’t force people into something that’s social; it’s like telling someone, ‘I know you were going to enjoy a quiet night at home reading this book, but before you can turn the page, you must go to this party and mingle with people, whether you want to or not.’”

This seems more like a comment on the increasingly social nature of the web at large, but there’s no question, Google is pushing this kind of social mentality.

“I was infuriated by this thing I saw on YouTube because it was yet another example of Google forcing people who use its products — which are great products, by the way — to join G+,” Wheaton tells us. “As I’ve made clear, I love G+, and I love a lot of Google products, but if Google wants people to join, embrace, and enthusiastically use G+, they should make G+ awesome and compelling. What they’re doing now — forcing people to sign up by crippling a user experience with an existing product — is just going to make people resent G+, and never give it a chance. That’s a shame, because G+ is a great product that doesn’t need to be force fed to people.”

Again, the feature was only an experiment, but it’s not like Google is going to stop looking for ways to increase Google+‘s presence throughout its products. You can already see a lot of the integrations, if you go here.

  • YouTube integrations, specifically, include: seeing videos your friends like, watching videos together in hangouts, sending videos to Circles, and +1ing videos.
  • Search integrations include: personal results, profiles in search results, and the related people and pages feature.
  • With Gmail, there’s: finding emails from people in your circles, sharing photos, and seeing things shared by people in your circles that you got emails from.
  • With Google Maps, you can send directions to people in your Circles.
  • With Google Earth, you can send images of places to Google+.
  • With Blogger, you can share posts to Google+ whenever you publish them and use the +1 counter on the dashboard.
  • With Android, there’s: Instant Upload of photos, group chat, video hangouts, and the nearby stream.
  • With Chrome, theres: the Google +1 button extension for recommending sites and pages, and the Google+ Notifications extension to check Google notifications off of Google properties.
  • With Google News, you can keep up with specific authors by following them on Google+, as they’re displayed in News results. You can also see articles people in your circles have +1′d in the Spotlight section. Just this week, they announced that they’re showing content from your Google+ circles in “Top Stories” and in a new realtime coverage section (a far cry from the realtime search feature they used to have, I might add, which included realtime tweets).

Clearly, there are a lot of useful ways Google can integrate its “social spine” into its various products, and there will no doubt be plenty of more, but as the experiment Wheaton wrote about shows, it’s all in the implementation.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity that I have as a content creator to release videos on YouTube,” Wheaton tells us. “I couldn’t do Tabletop without Google, and I’m grateful for the opportunity the company has given me. As a user, and as a creator, I want Google to keep making awesome products and making it possible for people like me to work outside of the traditional mainstream. I don’t want Google to turn into another Facebook that just feels icky and intrusive.”

Speaking of Facebook, that wasn’t all he had to say on that. We asked Wheaton if he think Google+ is capable of achieving Facebook-like user numbers.

“Probably not, but that isn’t Google’s fault,” he says. “Facebook has a significant head start, and has effectively captured a generation. Facebook is also demonstrably evil, though, so if Google offered a truly non-evil social network — a real and meaningful alternative to Facebook — it could probably attract huge numbers of people.”

“Just think of the free publicity every time Facebook does something that intrudes on the privacy of its users, when Google can say, honestly, ‘yeah, over at G+ we don’t do that.’ Unfortunately, as an advertising company, I don’t see Google ever embracing that idea.”

And Google is already facing pressures in advertising after two quarters in a row of substantial CPC declines. Revenue, however, was up 24% last quarter. It’s also worth noting that Google hasn’t even put ads on Google+ (the social destination) yet.

Do you think Google+ is making Google’s products better or is it being forced? Let us know when you think.

Is Google Forcing Google+ Down People’s Throats?
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  • http://haystak.com Julio Gonzalez

    Google+ will also be taking over Google places.

    • Roger

      Seo workers and fake fan club providers are taking over. G-

    • http://none joyce coley

      I don’t have any interest in any kind of social networking. I have a life. all social networking sites are a place to view someone’s opinions,tell about their lives. I live in the real physical world,not cyber space.

  • http://www.casualgamedev.com Shajedul

    I am not sure about that. But google is doing great job.

    • esther

      It’s always compromising if we people let a company gain so much power.

  • http://www.bizsuccessguide.com Efoghor Joseph Ezie

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with Google putting the Google+ button everywhere as a way of promoting their stuff. It’s just about using one product to promote another at a reduced cost.

    Google is also doing everything possible to make Google+ able to compete favourably with facebook. So one good way to do that is to make sure they have their buttons where all visitors to their other products could easily see them and click on them.

  • http://onehundredoneseotips.com Don Alton Latimer

    How about Google putting THREE buttons on the youtube videos? Two for the traditional up and down votes, and one for the G+… Heck, they could even put the G+ button above the other two, lol.

  • http://bsybiotechclicks.com/ bsynoni

    google do have some good and bad here n there, however it is still dependable..

  • http://thepsychicuniverse.com Diane Ollivett-Miles

    Since the price of our key words in Google are more than we can afford, and Goodle AdSense will not block out ads of our competitors (yes I went in to set it up to block them but it only worked for 3 dys) I avoid Google. Every where I go, it seems Google stuff pops up to try to force me to sign into Google+ and let it have access to all my social inofrmation, yes I feel they are trying to force it upon us!

  • http://www.ShoutMeLoud.com Harsh Agrawal

    This is so true and Google plus is making a huge mistake…Promotion make sense..but promoting something forcefully which not everyone can adopt…I can’t imagine my non techy cousin to use Google plus where as using Facebook and in that matter orkut is easy…
    Plus Google pushing Google plus to the hell of SEO and only reason most of internet marketer is using Google+ because it’s giving great SEO visibility…

    Google should rather work on refining the product and make it usable for novice users too…. Hope we see some major improvement in Google plus soon…

  • Paul Car

    I am not a geek, I am just an ordinary user of the internet who uses it to gain information when needed. So sorry to sound dumb, but can someone explain the pros & cons of Google + compared with good old Google
    Thank you who in anticipation

  • http://dollarstips.com Krishna

    Obviously, Google’s promotional efforts seem to say that if you like one of their services, you should also like their other services. It also gives the impression to webmasters that joining Google+ increases their search engine visibility. By looking at the search results, I too have the feeling that those who use Google+ do have an edge over others.

  • http://www.acrelicgroup.com David Rosen

    I can understand Will Wheatons’ concerns, but there is one challenge that settles any argument.

    How much are we paying for You Tube or Google+?

    • dave

      You are paying with you time via Advertisement viewing if you are just watching clips and in many ways if you host a channel. You aren’t paying directly in hard dollars, but things still cost you. Why do you think these things are saleable commodities so that a company like Google buys them. Have a think in future before you make ridiculous statements.

  • Bob Marconi

    No one should do anything without my express permission…

  • http://artsweightloss.com Art

    When Google+ first started every Tom,Dick, and Harry was promoting it and this really pissed me off. A Google+ like button on Youtube or anywhere else on the worldwide web is going beyond ignorant.
    I am sure I am not the only one turned off Google+ by the push, push crap they lay on us.
    Linkedin will always be my choice, that and a few others I use.

  • http://www.captaincyberzone.com Cap’n Cyberzone

    Would Google do evil?!

  • Richard

    Paul, google+ has very little to do with google the search engine. Google+ is their social networking site, intended to compete with Facebook and Linkedin. I personally don’t use it, and I don’t like the strong push to use it. I ignore google+ buttons completely. I am busy enough trying to stay connected and post updates on FB, twitter and Linkedin. Why do I need another social network? I also detest in-your-face marketing such as pop-up ads, pop-under windows, commercial ads before or over youtube videos, or anything that flickers and flashes and bugs me. To me those things are not very different to unsolicited spam emails.

  • http://www.superlifeincome.com.au Eugene

    I don’t really see the problem with what Google is doing. We see “Like”, “Follow”, “Connect” everywhere we go on-line.
    It’s only natural for Google (who was late coming into the social networking game) to try and influence users into getting on a G+ bandwagon.
    At the end of the day, we have a choice of clicking that button, or moving on.

  • http://www.goldcurrent.net Gold Current

    Google sucks now.
    Plus, they attend Bilderberg and supported CISPA.
    I’m glad I deleted my G+ account.

  • Pla

    I stopped using Google several years ago due to incident with my personal information. I always believed they would get to this point and I think they are shrinking what little privacy and choices we have left.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    What I don’t think is right is Google is only giving the option to +1 and not -1. Why is it that you can go on places like Yelp and Angie’s List and see a real number that reflects if people actually like or dislike something but yet on Facebook or Google+ we’re hit with either giving something a positive mark or we can’t vote at all? Imagine a world where if you don’t like something you can’t tell anybody about it, because that’s the direction we’re heading in with Google+ and we’ve all even started on that path before with Facebook.

  • robert

    Google+ is the unraveling of a great search engine – now its cluttered and tied to info I dont care about.

    who cares what my friends think!!!

    if I want to interact with my friends – I call them, text them or go to there house

    I’m so surprised google is that jelous of facebook – it’s so bad that google now wants to be facebook – something that will NEVER happen – I dont care how good G+ gets – what does my social interactions/preferences have to do with which CAR I choose to buy – for me it has NOTHING to do with it

    Google+ is google’s huge psychological F’UP if it thinks it knows its users.

    If facebook became a search engine – the google bubble would pop almost instantly.

    when is the first or last time you heard someone say “like me on Google” ? – which companies promote the phrase “find us on Google”?

    My words here will probably never be really heard – but I feel better – now im only half as mad a google

  • http://karras-bommer.blogspot.com Karras Bommer

    Of all the powers-that-be on the internet I trust Google the most. I also happen to like Google+ and detest Facebook. So…bring it on Google, I’m game.

  • http://www.SuccesswithMichael.com Michael Ladd

    Know i WOULD NOT LIKE SEE MORE OF GOOGLE+ cRAMMING IT DOWN OUR THROATS HATE IT

  • Simon Griffiths

    Hard question to answer, but yes we are paying with our information to advertisers. May not be money but it is a payment. Problem we are increasingly seeing is that this payment is going up, and yes Google is forcing our hand to use services.

    A few examples:-

    Google maps – free to use on your site until recently, then when people have committed their development a charge gets added in. Is this the first time ever we are being asked to pay to use an advertising medium, as lets face it the reason for maps is to advertise to people using them.

    Google analytics – another great tool that is ‘free’, but Google will be getting huge amounts of data from this (read their T&C). However for the webmasters this is now being crippled with “not provided” info. Google says this is privacy, but pay for adwords and you get that info. Seems like it is getting less useful now almost everyone runs it on their site.

    Google+ – Anyone into SEO will tell you Google+ is now pretty much a requirement for a good ranking. That means we are being forced into Google+ because Google search over emphasises it. Small wonder that G+ is being taken over by SEO and spam. They are being forced there!

    I know that’s all a bit of a rant, but I agree with the author, Google is forcing us into things that we don’t want and when we are all there, at the moment they have a nasty habit of changing the rules on us! It makes me wonder what has become of don’t be evil sometimes!

  • http://www.elitehostingreviews.com Wilson Maina

    I think we’ll find Google plus will be in every Google product.

  • http://www.webstatsart.com/blog webstatsart

    The answer to the question is simple. Google is most definitely shoving Google Plus down our throats. The problem is that people are signing up but engaging their friends on facebook. Unless Google plus support facebook, it won’t work. Google is no match for a social network giant like facebook. Google is a search engine run by technies and has never been social. What makes people think it can succeed in a business that it has never succeeded in before?

  • Bill

    Goggle+, like facebook, is garbage. Social media is a scam that fools people into surrendering their privacy to monied corporate interests for free. Life long profiles of you, maintained by databases that belong to someone else are evil. I only sign into my google account when necessary, and clear cookies before and after. I will never have a facebook account, and encourage everyone I speak to to delete theirs’ and boycott the site.

  • http://spinnakermarcom.com Philippe G

    I totally with the tone of the article, Google botched Google + from the start. they could have learned from the competition what users like and what they despise. Instead they decided to reinvent the wheel and launched a half baked product.
    If that was not enough, they decided to integrate their other properties with G+ and botched that one as well, especially when it comes to Picasa. Picasa was good on its own, after the integration, it became awkward, hard to get to and edit photos and albums if you don’t want to use it with G+.
    It’s almost as if Google decided to make as hard as possible for users who want to resist G+ and keep using the properties with other social media platforms and a lot of users are getting ticked off.
    You Tube is another example of Google flexing it’s muscle telling users it’s our way or the highway, twisting their arm to try to force them into something they don’t want, G+
    The results do not lie, G+ has been growing fast but the time spent on the platform is anemic. Explanation, after arm twisting, users set up a G+ profile but they don’t like it leaving a high percentage of inactive profiles on the site.
    Google had a golden opportunity when FB shove timeline down their users’ throat and they blew it and they keep blowing it.
    It’s becoming a typical techie approach that totally ignores users wants. History shows that the approach does not work, it has not in the case of G+ so they try to shove it down our throats

  • http://www.mpbcontest.com/ssylvia Sylvia

    I AGREE WITH THIS ARTICLE !!

    the WORST THING I have to experiencing here is …
    with my YouTube-Channels !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    WHY THE HELL I HAVE TO OPEN FOR EACH DIFFERENT”NICHE-CHANNEL”
    an damn new separate G_Mail Account ???
    and this many G_Mail Accounts they try to forcing me to “hook up” with another G+ Account ..?????

    … what brain-dead people are there in there Head Office ??

    this MESSES YOUTUBE totally up !
    .. and YouTube was so nice and great before and not it is a MESS!!

    not even possible to connecting different YouTube-Channels to ONE same G+ Account !!

    what the hell is this for a idiot-thing ???

    can me someone tell ,…. who can dealing with 5 or 10 G+ Accounts??

    THIS MAKE ALL NO ANY SENSE ANYMORE THIS WHOLE SICK CIRCUS !
    and ALL IS FOR PROFIT OF THE “BIG ONCE” !

    or is here the EGO even bigger as the profit possession…???

    GOOGLE employ some “normal thinking” People .. OR you will
    “Kill yourself soon.. by pissing masses off more and more !!
    .. the trust and love before for Google could turn into hate easy….

    better start to thinking !!

  • http://megaincomestream.com AYO

    Google+ is a very good tool for webmasters that want to utilize social network to gain site popularity

  • http://webinitaly.org werbinitaly

    Merge Facebook and Google and make googlebook. That would save us from all this mess.

  • http://www.q3tech.com Q3

    Apart form this they’re trying other ways to do the same thing.
    Personal search, G+ linking with other platforms and the +1 button being added virtually everywhere on the internet are all examples.

    iPhone App Development

    • q3

      i love you

  • http://music-zen.com Joseph

    I like what google is doing. They are coming out with some very useful tools for better experience online.

  • Marian

    Google has simply gone too far. They are so busy trying to analyze, locate and configure information, that they’ve lost the real meaning of what they’re supposed to be about – Searches for information! Sadly, in this area they are now lacking. Instead of receiving a truthful search, one is squeezed into receiving information about their own locality and perhaps items somewhat relating to what they were really searching for. I’ve already gone over to Yahoo.

  • Tucker

    Yesm they are and probably their analytics too. If you use other analytics program that loads slower than theirs that is another algorithm point aainst you. Their resutls are a lot more biased than in 2004 when they IPO’d

  • http://www.949local.com Jim Froling

    “Forcing Google+” down our throats? Nah, it’s more like “strong encouragement” which is nothing new in the Google realm. Just to post a review on a Google Places page requires a Google ID (Gmail account).

    As search and social become ever more intertwined Google has to do whatever it takes to promote G+. Otherwise it will risk its own “relevance”. And we all know how much Google “Likes” relevance ;)

  • Paul Anderson

    They don’t need to. We’ve swallowed it hook line and sinker anyway.

  • http://www.sitekurmak.net Zamulmekan

    Does anyone know, is useful for googleplus webmaster?
    Please information me

  • Joe

    What is Google +? Nobody uses that thing. Less now with the news about Google and NSA being in bed together.

  • http://www.neverpaintagain.co.uk Alex

    What is the POINT?
    .
    When i go into a store in the real world, I do NOT expect a round of applause when i walk out the door. Can google just not go back to returning VALID and RELEVANT search results?

    You know, just a thought, thats all……

  • Karen

    I started to review a restaurant only to be told I must join Google+, in order to post the review. Forget that Google!

  • Hardline Feminist

    I for one, am opting out of Google+ even if it means I’m blocked from accessing my YouTube, Gmail and iGoogle accounts. Apparently Google+ is now being foisted on YouTube logins, brute-force joining of G+ or you can’t access your YT channel. Let the exodus begin.

    Besides, my privacy is worth more than Google’s invasion and monetization of everything I do online. Google can kiss my ass, I’m starting to hate them more than Micro$oft, I certainly never thought the day would come, and here we are already.

    Google is turning to the dark side faster than it can speak its slogan, “Don’t Be Evil.”

  • james

    i want to see none of Google plus on youtube. Im not going to upgrade to Google plus some of you might be thinking good but i cant comment on any video until i upgrade. well there is no point me in having a youtube account at all anymore if i cant comment on videos

  • The Person who simply wants things simple

    While google is great and all and I don’t give much thought to what products or whatever it does, it gives too much of inconveniences on certain websites like Youtube. Heavy users there, like myself, have a hard time using what used to be simple ways of moving in and around Youtube. We are now limited to where if you wanted to like, upvote, comment or reply to a comment on Youtube, you have to go to Google+, find the same video and do whatever from there. It feels time-consuming, and tedious searching and work. The actual moment when Youtube updated (again), Google+ forced too much of itself into Youtube. In reality, what Google is trying to do for Google+ is actually doing the exact opposite to Google+. And the rumors spreading like wildfire that trashes Google’s “good name” is slowly making every internet user hate Google and want to drag Google through the mud even further. Once again, however, it is more than likely that Google will continue to do worse things for the sake of money and power (according to certain rumors).

  • David S.

    Have started to develop an extreme hatred for Google…I mainly used Youtube for posting and answering comments concerning videos. I have deactivated my account.

  • http://twitter.com/javoten Javier

    “if Google offered a truly non-evil social network”. That’s impossible. Google is awful evil too.

  • Francesco Di Carbonaio

    The following are 2 copy pastes…Based on my frustration at Google’s tactics… They were written in yes Google + (but I don’t like it)
    (it’s all about You Tube)

    Let the people choose…Don’t force them to do anything…If they choose an option, that’s very different…Bring back the old You Tube!!!!

    absolutely agree 100% Watch the video folks….
    Bring back You Tube the way it was….Don’t need or want anything else usually stuff forced down your throat doesn’t work….Elon…I would have loved to comment under your Video…BUT I CANT…AND I WILL NOT LINK GOOGLE + TO MY YOU TUBE!!!!

  • iera dos santos

    “Is Google Forcing Google+ Down People’s Throats?”

    Why on earth is that a question?

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