Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Google is making a huge and annoying mistake (wilwheaton.typepad.com)
534 points by ColinWright on May 2, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 261 comments

> It is bad for viewers, bad for video creators, and bad for YouTube’s ability to curate and tailor videos to potential viewers.

First, a question: any random person on the internet, without being logged in, used to be able to Thumb Up a YouTube video?

If that's true, then I bet it was very easy to spam. Giving it a Thumb Up, without being logged in, would also mean that none of your friends had any idea that you had given it a Thumb Up, and you could never again find a history of things you had Thumbed Up.

And now, to upvote, you need to be logged in...

What website, anywhere on the internet, allows you to upvote without being logged in? Not HackerNews. Not Reddit. Not Facebook.

By knowing who you Follow, Google and YouTube now have a much better way to find information that you care about. If I search on YouTube for "python", it has a chance to know that I mean the programming language, because of who I'm Following.

Also, every single +1 that you get on your YouTube videos now has a real person behind it. Every single +1 is now worth Gold. Every single +1 has a better chance to go viral, because the Followers of that person who clicked +1 have a chance to see it.

If I search on YouTube for something, and I see "Wil Wheaton +1d this," I'm MUCH more likely to want to check it out.

Big difference between upvoting a video on YouTube for other people on YouTube and giving a +1 to a video that could possibly go on your Google+ wall (if that even exists), influence your search results in ways you don't want, or show up awkwardly in other strange ways while using other Google products like Gmail. The real problem is the effects are unknown and upvoting is no longer a contained action with a specific social purpose. That little upvote is a commodity that Google will exploit however it can to "bring the social" or whatever they're calling it nowadays.

I think users innately understand this and are shying away from Google+ because they can sniff where all this is heading - my boss reading that I "liked" a LOLcats video while at work or my wife seeing that I "plussed" a review of Avengers by a woman in lingerie or something. If users don't know what their actions will produce (especially socially) they are going to avoid it!

> giving a +1 to a video that could possibly go on your Google+ wall (if that even exists)

It does not exist. You can specifically Share a video with Circles.

> influence your search results in ways you don't want,

In the upper right on your Search page, you can click "Hide personal results."

> or show up awkwardly in other strange ways while using other Google products like Gmail

[citation needed]

> The real problem is the effects are unknown and upvoting is no longer a contained action with a specific social purpose.

What if you want to share with your circles, what if you want things you've +1'd to influence your search results, what if you want to see better ads rather than crappy ads?

> my boss reading that I "liked" a LOLcats video while at work

Don't Share that with your boss. That's what Circles are for.

> my wife seeing that I "plussed" a review of Avengers by a woman in lingerie or something

+1's are inherently public.

I can appreciate that you like to give feedback to content creators saying, "Hey, I liked this!" Google is tying the "I" in that sentence to your Google+ account.

I think the days of "Anonymous Likes" are somewhat over... They were always susceptible to spamming, anyway. And they were never really as anonymous as we liked to think they were.

>> giving a +1 to a video that could possibly go on your Google+ wall (if that even exists)

> It does not exist. You can specifically Share a video with Circles.


> +1's are inherently public.

> I can appreciate that you like to give feedback to content creators saying, "Hey, I liked this!" Google is tying the "I" in that sentence to your Google+ account.

> I think the days of "Anonymous Likes" are somewhat over... They were always susceptible to spamming, anyway. And they were never really as anonymous as we liked to think they were.

There is a big difference between unauthenticated and anonymous, even if from the perspective of the viewer they look identical. On Hacker News, you can't tell whether I +1'd or -1'd you, but I certainly have an account that I must be logged in to in order to vote.

Oh right, forgot about that page. At least I got it right that +1's are inherently public. Oh, and also - tangentially - it doesn't really act like a Wall, because even though I'm following Matt Cutts, I don't see his +1s show up in my Stream. I have to go look for them.

> I think the days of "Anonymous Likes" are somewhat over

That's right... that's exactly the issue captured in nutshell.

I am confused: your one-level > does not seem to take into account that that is what was said by VikingCoder; are you responding to him, or are you responding to me?

Technically, "Anonymous Likes" aren't really susceptible to spamming, as through the years Google developed enormous infrastructure to avoid spamming in ad-clicks. The same technology can be easily used for "Anonymous Likes." The decision to eliminate "Anonymous Likes" is not a result of technical needs, it's a decision "from the above" to force a "more social" Google.

> Technically, "Anonymous Likes" aren't really susceptible to spamming

[Citation Needed]

Should content show up higher in Google Search Results, if it is more Liked? By whatever system of Likes you care to design... I say "yes."

That makes the "Anonymous Like" system a clear target for Search Engine Optimization.

People have to pay for ads. If it turns out that the Conversion numbers for a set of search words are lousy, then advertisers will give up on those words, and the price on those words will plummet. It's to Google's advantage to find GOOD ads, that users actually WANT to see. It's good for advertisers to only have their ads up if users WANT to see them. And it's good for users to only see ads that they WANT to see. The economy on ad words helps solve those problems.

For YouTube videos, Google knows how many people watch all the way through a video - which is one metric. They know how many times people start watching the video. They could know how many "Anonymous Likes" there are. And they can know how many +1s and Shares there are. The number of replays, too. How often people click on the video, when it shows up in search results.

Given all of that data, I assert that it's possible that Anonymous Likes have no technical value. The task: given all of the metrics, predict the likelihood that User B will enjoy watching a video. I think it's possible that Google / YouTube have determined that the number of Anonymous Likes has no statistical correlation to the likelihood that User B will enjoy watching the video. I think it's possible that the number of Anonymous Likes should have no bearing on the Rank of a video in Search Results.

Your assertion is that "The decision to eliminate 'Anonymous Likes' is not a result of technical needs". That's possible, but I think you're only speculating. Otherwise, [Citation Needed].

> it's a decision "from the above" to force a "more social" Google.

If I'm correct, that Anonymous Likes have no statistical correlation to whether User B will enjoy the video, then don't you think it's possible that having Google+ users, who are signed in, be able to +1 and Share a video might actually create BETTER RESULTS for users? Not just "more social," but more "ME" based on things I've liked, and based somewhat on the things the people in my Circles have liked?

Just an FYI, your posting style is pretty obnoxious.

sigh Bummer.

If you feel like you have the time, please try to explain roughly the same message that I tried to express, but with a posting style that is not obnoxious.

clue #1: do not type out "Sigh". Or "Le Sigh". That is something teenage girls do, and it drives people nuts.

clue #2: do not use overused internet trailer trash phrases like "Citation Needed" when you aren't on Wikipedia, or the phrases "Really? Seriously?"

clue #3: try to emotionally detach yourself from the topic and engage the merits of the topic, no need to capitalize words, etc. ALL CAPS won't help you.

When someone claims that their subjective, unsubstantiated opinion is fact, asking for a citation that backs up their claim is about the nicest way I can think of to say, "You are utterly full of shit, and I'm calling you out on your bullshit."

And pathetic. But that's the norm when you're dealing with apologists for bad behavior and bad design. Instead of learning something, they continue to childishly defend the discredited entity.

Your posting style is MORE obnoxious. Get a hold of yourself.

Again with the anonymity. The likes are pseudonymous, and currently, tied to your Google account (but not necessarily g+). So should people be allowed to have more than one Google account?

Is spamming likes really a problem now, and will the SEO target evaporate once the number of accounts is reduced? I don't think so. Quite the opposite, actually.

You say people should not have to see ads they don't want to see - good luck with that. A good deal of marketing is selling to people who aren't looking to buy.

> [citation needed]

Lubujackson's entire point is that we don't know what the consequences will be.

Ignorance is a poor excuse for inaction.

It's one of the best justifications for caution.

Or as Dr. Buckaroo Banzai once said, "Don't tug on that. You never know what it might be attached to."

It would be, except we're talking about prognostication, not some testable attribute of reality. We all continue to exist equally ignorant of what will happen tomorrow.

Nobody should work this hard to get around offensive policies, or work this hard to excuse them.

You can't thumb up on Youtube without a Google Account (which is not exactly the same as a Google+ account).

And, I already get the +1s (or thumbs up, or whatever it's called) of the people I follow on Youtube, in my Youtube stream. And I do like things there. On the other hand, sharing ? I'd think twice before doing it.

So, to make some people happy, Google would have to allow you to have a separate Google account, Google+ account, and YouTube account.

To make other people happy, it would be completely optional to link those accounts together - but keep them separate, for some reason.

To make other people happy, they should be able to use one account to do all of the those things.

Finally, to make other people happy, Google should just be a search engine with 10 blue links.

I don't really argue one way or another. Just wanted to precise that the anonymous user issue is a bit irrelevant. They couldn't do anything before, they still can't do anything.

What changes (if they really do what the original blog post suggests) is this: * They remove the up/down votes system internal to Youtube (which is already a full-fledged system, where you have a stream where you can see when someone you follow likes something, etc) * They move 'share to Google+' from the 'Share' submenu (where it already is, alongside with Facebook, Twitter) to where the up/down votes were

Actually you can have separate accounts right now. And you can link all the account right now, if your want too. This also works with Google Apps too.

BUt I don't have a Google + account. Though not for Google not trying. And frankly I don't want one. FB is enough for me.

I have a Youtube only account, not linked to any other Google services or their hosted email, and I can up or down vote any of the three videos I just randomly clicked on to check this out.

Err, it most likely is also a Google account, even a basic one, or at least linked to one. Unless you know a trick that I don't.

As far as I know, the migration from Youtube accounts to Google accounts has been forced some time ago (I tried to avoid it as long as I could).

Surely it's simple enough to create a google account that's only used for youtube?

We do it on our server at home.

Imagine if hackernews replaced upvoting with tweeting, that's what they're doing.

That's not quite correct. As far as I can tell, +1'ing things does not appear in your stream and won't appear in the streams of the folks who are following you. Sharing does, but not +1'ing. +1'ing does appear on your profile under the +1 tab if 1) someone navigates over there and 2) you have made that tab visible to that person (you can control who can see that tab). If someone visits the object that you +1'ed, then they can also see that you +1'ed it.

There's a major issue of clarity here though. It doesn't matter what really happens, if the user is unsure they'll opt for not doing it. The only thing I remember for sure about +1 was that Google made me hyper aware that my +1's were public. Which is why I almost never +1 anything except those that reflect well on me professionally (ie. it's about projecting an image of myself, nothing to do with what I actually like). Ironically a few weeks ago somebody +1's one of my Google Code projects and I was quite surprised that I couldn't find out who it was. It turns out that +1's are public but in a very confusing way. I suppose on that person's profile somewhere the +1 is visible, but I have no way to find it.

how was the user sure what happened before? with the old system, you were thumbs-upping a video from your google account. your thumbs ups were probably visible somewhere on youtube, and the things that you thumbed up were reported back to google and probably influenced your search results.

now, you're +1ing a video from your google account. your +1s are visible somewhere in google+ and are reported back to google and influence your search results.

it's the exact same thing, the button just looks different.

> it's the exact same thing, the button just looks different.

For me, a crucial difference is that Google+ is linked publicly to my real name, while YouTube was always confined to a pseudonym.

You're splitting hairs.

The OP is correct; while technically slightly different (perhaps closer to tweeting to a protected twitter account), its basically the same thing:

Your votes are publicly viewable by your social network friends.

Couldn't think of a better analogy myself

I agree with and upvoted your post, but there is one assumption you make that I'm not sure is correct:

"If I search on YouTube for "python", it has a chance to know that I mean the programming language, because of who I'm Following."

Are you really not interested in the snake just because you follow a lot of programmers?

For example, I follow the hacker news circle on Google+, because I respect technical expertise and interests of you guys. Some of you might like to write about some other topic like sports, but that's not why I'm following you.

Now if I do a Google search for "running shoes", how can Google know that everything you wrote about this topic is not to be used to "improve" my ranking?

> First, a question: any random person on the internet, without being logged in, used to be able to Thumb Up a YouTube video?

I think you needed to be logged in (or it would ask you to log in), but the point was that it didn't require a Google Plus account.

Right now your IP can vote once a day per video I believe. Yes it's pretty easy to game, but the rating % is amazingly accurate to tell me whether I'm gonna enjoy a video or not.

A lot of news sites allow voting without being logged in, as well as in the comment sections.

Business Insider, the largest business site, allows it (Quantcast #235).

It's premised on the notion that for 99.999% of people, they're not going to bother going through any amount of hassle to bolster votes artificially. It works, it's not worth the time or effort to game content and comments that are modest in traffic and throw-away in nature. The only way it's worth gaming, is on front pages like Reddit where there's a massive simultaneous concentration of traffic.

Not just Reddit, HN derives tremendous value from quality commenting.

Commenting with zero accountability (authenticated accounts, voting, flagging, whatever) is basically doomed to be awful and a net negative to the service.

"Very likely to be" - yes, definitely. "Doomed to be" - not even nearly. There are blog communities I've been a part of that knock HN comments out of the ring, with zero friction to comment (a name and email address are required, but that email address is never validated). It's about moderation and caring enough to grow a community, not the specific mechanism you use to do that.

There's a big difference between being "logged into" YouTube and signing up for Google+.

This just completes Googles utter failure with Google Video and YouTube. They never understood why Google Video failed, and YouTube remains a steaming pile of shit under Google's ownership. And it's getting worse.

Youtube used to be a demilitarized zone in the social wars. Every social network uses Youtube as their default video provider, every cell phone OS has a Youtube app as the default video app.

Google saying that Youtube is now, fundamentally, a G+ territory means that social video is no longer something we can take for granted; expect Facebook and Apple to jump ship, and Youtube is left with, what, only the loyal G+ users?

I miss the days when Google, Apple, and Facebook cooperated rather than squabbled. The internet has gotten crappier lately.

Facebook isn't so dumb that they haven't seen YouTube as Google's trojan horse for a long time. Facebook has had a video platform since 2007 -- it just hasn't taken off.

> I miss the days when Google, Apple, and Facebook cooperated rather than squabbled.

I don't; competition is good.

If by competition you mean the walled data silos each company builds in order to prevent users from leaving their platform, I would much rather prefer cooperation.

It's funny to think that Google Video didn't take off, and Google had to buy YouTube. Now YouTube is not available for purchase by Facebook. This is interested with the instagram purchase.

You're being downvoted but you're exactly right. As long as Instagram hung out there floating in the breeze, anyone could become a major photo-sharing player, just as Google did by acquiring YouTube.

By purchasing Instagram, Facebook prevented themselves from being edged out in photos the way Google is shouldering them out in video sharing.

I don't agree: Facebook can just make something that's almost exactly like YouTube. Seems like a no-brainer investment for facebook.

But with Instagram, they wanted the name-brand.

Google tried that, they made Google Video. They're also trying to make something like Facebook (Google Plus), hasn't taken off so well. If Google can't make Google Video work, what makes you think Facebook Video will work?

Google Video didn't take off because of branding failure. Google is not something that people contribute to; it aggregates things that are already out there. Google Video was perceived as a search engine for video, not as a user-content site.

So instead of simply correcting that failure, Google paid $1.6 billion for something it already had.

Competition is good. Entering totally unrelated markets you're unsuited for is stupid.

Very true, I often dread "upgrades" or "redesigns" to software or websites that I like using. Everything seems to now be adding hoops that you have to jump through.

This is why I often prefer things that I either have to pay for or that are OSS because then at least I feel like I have some of influence in the relationship.

I dread the day that google slap a login page up in front of their search engine service.

Sometimes I forget that services I use everyday have login pages. I cant remember the last time I logged in to facebook.

I do it several times a day, because I keep Facebook isolated in an Incognito tab, which I strongly recommend to everyone else.

Im curious why?

It means I don't have Facebook cookies set when I visit other web sites with Like buttons, so although Facebook can see that the same browser configuration at the same IP address is visiting those sites, they have less certainty that it's really me.

Facebook is still trying to use E-mail addresses as user IDs. Amateur hour, just like Apple.

Your custom URL ending also works for signing in to Facebook.

I hadn't thought about it like this but you're completely right. In fact I think this one of the best explanations about this that I've seen. The whole silo thing is becoming increasingly irritating.

In the beginning people complained that Google has like a dozen different "Like" buttons on the Reader, Youtube and so on. Now they complain that they want to use just one everywhere?

I think it's a great move. Personally, I even want them to integrate their G+ commenting system into all their services. It's one of the best commenting systems out there, and certainly much better than the Youtube one. It might even encourage better comments on Youtube.

> Now they complain that they want to use just one everywhere?

It's almost like the Internet is lots of different people with wildly divergent opinions!

Google is one company. Would you want Apple to have 5 different payment systems, or Facebook to have 5 different Like buttons?

I really don't care. I was just pointing out that the use of collective nouns can be misleading when you're talking about what "people" said and how "they" are being inconsistent.

The rest of your point was well-made (not that I expect you to care about what I think; I'm just some random git off the Internet, after all).

But there's a third option, and it's the one Wheaton is complaining is no longer there.

Instead of there being a way to "like" this thing on an external social network (like G+ or Facebook), what about just "liking" it on a system that exists only on the site itself (in this case, on YouTube)?

Then after that, how about a system to Share the item? This doesn't really exist on the web, but the Sharing system on Android solves this problem well.

If you're not logged in, then it's a completely meaningless "like." It can be easily spammed, you can't find it again just by knowing you liked it, your Followers have no idea you liked it.

It's about as valuable as those old CGI "000000017 people have viewed this page!"

And there's a great way to share the item - use the URL. Google is really aggressive about making sure that its web pages, even though they feel like rich internet applications, still allow linking.

i don't know where this misconception is coming from, but you could never like something on youtube without first logging in. you have always had to be logged in to your google account in order to give a thumbs up.

Kudos - I wish you'd shown up and said this earlier, so I would have gotten fewer upvotes.

Web Intents (which should be in Chrome soon, or maybe they're in already) should hopefully allow exactly that.


Latest news seems to be on G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116171619992010691739/posts

It's definitely in :)

Grab a Canary build, start playing with it right now.

Agreed. Anedotal - I've been using Youtube since it was released, and I just found out a month or so ago that you don't have to dig through the annoyingly short paginated comments below videos to find replies to yours, there's a page in your dashboard that shows all that.

I'm not a heavy Youtube user and don't care that much, but it was not intuitive or apparent.

Further, I mostly like G+ (except for one complaint [1]), and I'm all for better integration of their properties with it.

1. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3828010

Yeah, and there's a series of clicks you can use to get to the list of videos that you've favorited, but damned if I can ever remember what they are. Every time I want to find one of my favorites, it takes a maddening number of clicks to get to it.

A friend of mine actually convinced me otherwise re: youtube comments. Because youtube comments are reverse threaded by time, so the newest comments are first, it encourages comments to be actual reactions to the video instead of just getting lost in replies to replies to replies.

That's a good thing. It's really easy to get lost in comments. In some ways it would be nice to hide all comments until you make one. Though you'll probably end up with a list of the same remarks. In some ways you have that already! (People don't seem to think for themselves any more...)

I always fancied threaded comment systems, but they can spiral off topic. That's not in tiself a bad thing. Loads of comments can be hard to read, or rather take a long time to read. Perhaps a character limit - and a comment limit would make them more succinct and better all round.

Wasn't the +1 just a shortcut for those that used to just cut and paste someone else's comment to signify that they were in agreement with what the other person said anyway? Perhaps I'm wrong and it means something different to other people.

Part of me says do anything to make the YouTube comment system better. But I'm not sure if Google+ is the right way to go about it.

YouTube comments (aside from being a cavalcade of human stupidity) don't even work right. Threads don't work, with replies appearing in random locations rather than indented under the originals (but sometimes they do inexplicably appear correctly). Page breaks are totally wrong, with the same comments appearing on the next page but many of them missing. Really, why even bother. YouTube is a failure of basic design and Google, with all their resources, hasn't been able to field a competent layout. That's pathetic.

It is a question of semantics and word choice really - pretty sure that if they had said "Login with your Google Account" instead of "Upgrade to Google+", the reaction would not have been as negative. All that the Upgrade to Google+ does is tie your Google account to Google+ - you don't have to follow anyone, post anything or fill out any details of you profile. So they could have just called it : We are tying / converting (not upgrading) your account to a Google+ account so you can Like the video.

In order to get a Google+ account, you have to give them a lot more information than you do to just get a normal Google account. And you have to use your real name or they'll disable you entire account - including email etc.

Even with those safeguards, it is still possible to create a phony/spam G+ account. Asking for more information doesn't solve the problem, it simply forces the user to fabricate more information in the beginning during the sign up process.

The user, however, doesn't know the consequences of subverting the form.

If they're an accomplished spammer they won't hesitate to experiment. After which it's yet another hoop which obstructs only the bona fide users.

The consequences are basically nil as long as you don't call yourself Clark Kent, Hometown: Krypton or similar.

And you have to use your real name or they'll disable you entire account - including email etc.

No, they don't. They just suspend your G+ account. GMail is unaffected.

Yes, there are stories of people getting both their G+ and GMail accounts suspended, but it was always for other reasons than not using a real name. One I recall was that a user was under 13, but hadn't entered his birthday until activating the G+ portion of his account, which triggered the GMail suspension. (Google doesn't allow under-13 users to have Google accounts since under US law there are extra requirements that Google doesn't want to deal with.)

And you have to use your real name or they'll disable you entire account - including email etc.

No, not true.

I think most of the Google's PR debacles in past year have to do with poor wording and lack of proper information on privacy. When they omit things, people will assume the worst.

And the far bigger concern is that all of your "+1s" are completely public with no way to opt out of that. This was categorically not the case with "Likes" on YouTube.

> "It might even encourage better comments on Youtube."

I don't think the move to G+ will affect Youtube comment quality at all.

Just imagining what will happen when all the Youtube commenters start posting to G+ boggles the mind.

They might actually be able to compete with Facebook then...

"In the beginning people complained that Google has like a dozen different "Like" buttons on the Reader, Youtube and so on"

No, they didn't. Who in hell would complain about that? Who cares?

I don't know about "Like" buttons, but I know more than a few people who complain about all of Google's messaging options (Google Talk, Google Voice, Huddle / Google+ Messaging, ...).

Looks like this was a test Google recently deployed, more information here:


Thank you for that link. Yours is the only relevant comment in this thread, and should be read prior to upvoting. The rest is just fud.

Google thinks it will die in the long run without social. They realize that all the tech-savvy software product in the world can be reproduced eventually, but secondary, human-savvy products, can never be reproduced. Furthermore, they see the power in adding ever more context to search - see Bret Victor's talk about how 'interaction' is bad, and inferring context is everything. There's no better context than social.

While my visceral reaction is basically the same as Wil's, I actually think that this is something Google needs to do if they believe in this vision. Time will tell if it's justified: when they removed social features from Reader I basically stopped using it. I probably won't stop using YouTube, but this may be annoying enough for me to stop giving feedback (apart from the navigation event itself, of course).

Also on the plus side, since Google insists on real identities on G+ then we can at least look forward to more civil comments on YouTube, which I think we all agree would be a net benefit.

I haven't seen a convincing argument that Google needs social. I know they believe it, I just haven't seen anything that made a compelling case that it's actually true.

This is my take on things but happy to hear other views. Google (and Facebook) are advertising based so try thinking about it in terms of how well they know their users.

The better they know their users, the more specifically they can target ads to them. For example, if I wanted to reach 20-somethings, who really like pizza and motorbikes, travel widely and currently reside on the west coast, FB can put ads in front of that group (I don't know if Google can, but I assume it's more tricky for them).

Since there are likely a large number of people that use the web while still logged in to FB, then FB could feasibly start offering to place highly-targeted ads out on the web at large. This could obviously have a dramatic effect on Google's dominance.

In other words, it's not just social per se, but being able to learn more about users in order to ensure that they can keep their hold over advertising revenue. Once I looked at it this way, Google's 'need' for social made more sense.

To test the above, we could look at what Google offers in terms of demographics/interest filtering when you buy/place ads around the web. If the ability to refine who sees your ads is really part of the plan then there should be signs that it's happening. I've never used any of Google's ad stuff so I wouldn't know where to look.

I have to say that it sounds like an excellent reason to drop gmail and move away from google products. I don't _want_ advertisers to know more about me.

Advertisers don't know more about you. Google matches advertisements targeted to demographic X with people that meet demographic X.

It's like a stock exchange -- you say you want to sell 30 shares of AAPL, and you're anonymously matched with someone that wants to buy 30 shares of AAPL. Only the exchange knows who both parties to the transaction are, protecting you from evil transaction partners.

Now, if you don't trust the exchange, that's a problem. But if you are worried about using the exchange because you don't trust every possible trading party, that's incorrect.

"Advertisers don't know more about you."

Only sort of. Let's say I'm doing general advertising but want to know the age and gender of people who click on my ads. So I place ads for "men age 18-20", "men age 21-24", "men age 25-35", ..., "women age 18-20", ... . I give each a different landing url. Then I as the advertiser learn more about my incoming users than I would without targeting. I can't pull all the demographic information the ad network knows because if the buckets are too small things like CTR estimation work poorly, but if I'm high volume I can get good resolution.

I don't care if advertisers know more about until they can actually identify who I am (name and contact info) and start calling me, sending me emails, and mailing me directly.

Since it's not in Google's or Facebook's best interest to allow a direct connection between their advertiser's and users (if they no longer act as the proxy, where's the money?) I'm not terribly worried about it.

I would like there to be more than just a vested interest in not revealing my identity though. Something legal ensuring they take it seriously would be nice. Like being able to sue them should they mistakenly expose my identity via some third party's clever fingerprinting etc. As long as I stay anonymous and protected (from big brother etc.) though I really don't care. I just think we need more assurances that we are indeed anonymous, gov included, which currently isn't the case.

Which they potentially can right ?

If you see a random ad for a company on Google, click on it and then supply your email. Then they would know a lot more about than just your email. They would know every demographic filter they used to create that ad. That could be quite specific.

True, if the company only created one campaign and it was pretty specific, then yes, they could tie my signup to the campaign information. I'm not terribly concerned about this yet.

Browser fingerprinting is far more alarming: http://panopticlick.eff.org/

Let's say there's a SASS service you can tie into that has a massive database of browser fingerprint activity. Potentially you could get quite a significant amount of browsing history once enough websites are using the service. You can tie this to an email address etc. when a site requests a signup.

This is exactly the sort of false reasoning that causes mass hysteria and general stupidity.

It's a bunch of servers that know lots about you. Google then uses these servers to match ads to you. There is no team of Google employees who knows every detail of your life and personally matches ads to you. It's servers and algorithms all the way down.

A server has as much use for your likes and dislikes as it does for a piece of pizza (which you may or may not like).

In which case, you'd probably want to move away from any advertising based services.

I think it's important to realise that the advertisers don't necessarily know about you. Google/Facebook do and they're the ones who provide the 'filtering' service for folks who want to place ads in front of certain groups.

Advertising is the vast majority of Google's revenue. How vast? AdWords alone accounts for 97% of Google's earnings. The strategic vulnerability of that position cannot possibly be overstated.

Along comes Facebook, which could (in theory, at least) roll out a perfectly competitive product to threaten AdWords. If social really does provide better context for advertising, and advertising within the world's prevailing social network is deemed superior to advertising within search, then Google is fucked. Some degree of 97% fucked, to be precise.

This is why Google's so feverishly obsessed with social in general, and Facebook in particular. They see this -- rightly so -- as no less than an existential threat. Now, their approach to the problem is up for debate. But the extent of the problem is, if anything, popularly underestimated.

While that helps explain why Google's social efforts are weak, it doesn't make the case that social is something Google needs.

What Google needs, in this case, is more information on its users, which is not a particularly social thing to need.

Say Google is approaching social as an information gathering problem, and Facebook is approaching social as a users-interacting problem, then who will always win social under those conditions?

"While that helps explain why Google's social efforts are weak, it doesn't make the case that social is something Google needs."

Actually, my intent was just the opposite: to explain why Google "needs" social (but not so much to explain why its efforts have been weak). That said, I think it does offer explanation for their weakness in social to date: they didn't really see it as a threat until it became one. It's very easy to see why Facebook's ad platform can be a threat to Google's ad platform in hindsight (i.e., right now), but it wasn't back when Facebook was first taking off. It's hard to blame Google for not seeing Facebook as an existential threat before it turned into one.

"Say Google is approaching social as an information gathering problem, and Facebook is approaching social as a users-interacting problem, then who will always win social under those conditions?"

For Google, it's not about winning social, per se; it's about winning advertising. Facebook is trying to win social. Google is trying to prevent social from devastating its ad platform, and at the moment, it seems to think that putting up a valiant fight to carve out a piece of social is the best solution to that problem. That's why Google thinks it "needs" social. It may or may not actually need to win social, but it needs to defend and improve its ad platform, and social is a big threat to that platform. Accordingly, I'd argue that Google's approach to social has been defensive, and not offensive. (Ironically, that may also explain its not being able to "get" social so far).

I think they are also split between trying to think of Facebook as doing an extension of their information gathering, ie social relationships add more data that we can use to sell you ads more effectively we need to do this, as against Facebook as a platform is a threat to the open web with search as a gateway. The first part is easier for them, especially as plus gives them some data from circles even if no one uses it. The only big platformy thing they have is youtube, and perhaps android, oh and orkut, but they dont really know how to compete with facebook, in the past they just tried to build attractive places on the open web.

Pretty sure Google did see the threat. Didn't they put in an offer very early on, and try to invest / partner later on?

The vulnerability of their business model was always obvious. What I don't understand, is why Google never attempted to enter new markets with different business models.

Here's hoping Google Glass will be successful.

"What I don't understand, is why Google never attempted to enter new markets with different business models"

Google has always been attempting to enter new markets, but the new attempts amounted to a lot of moderately useful utilities, some questionably useful toys and curiosities, and a lot of misses. Mostly, the attempts seemed like random offshoots -- the products of a company that was supremely dominant in its position, flush with cash, and free to experiment in any way it so chose.

As I mentioned in a previous comment, it's very easy in hindsight to blame Google for having essentially rested on its laurels, squandering its lead and its position. And it's very easy to claim that certain threats (i.e., Facebook) were "always" obvious. They weren't. There were certainly some critical junctures at which Google should have focused its efforts on expansion in one or two directions. But Google was making attempts at expansion -- just not the right ones.

Harvard's Clayton Christensen famously described this situation as "The Innovator's Dilemma." There is a well-documented and almost axiomatic pattern, throughout history, of innovative companies rising to the top and then failing to predict who or what would eventually disrupt them. (If disruption were easily predictable, after all, it wouldn't be disruptive).


It's worth checking out.

You don't seem to be differentiating between search ads and display ads, and it is search ads that comprise the majority of their revenue (where FB is more of a threat to their display ads).

I would argue that FB is a threat to their search ads, too, in the long run. And it's not too difficult to foresee some scenarios in which that's true.

At least Google seems to think so. (If they just thought FB was a threat to display ads, they probably wouldn't be making social such a huge, life-or-death deal).

> I haven't seen a convincing argument that Google needs social.

"pictures of Dan's wedding" "those backpacks John keeps talking about" and "where the fuck are my car keys" are all queries that require people-data in order to dereference whom you're talking about

When Google can answer "where the fuck are my car keys" is when I unplug.

My read is that Google is far more likely to die with social.

Social networks have been part of the Internet since before it was an Internet: mailing lists, Usenet, BBS systems, AOL chat rooms, Geocities, Friendster, Grokster, Orkut, MySpace, Bebo, Facebook.... Each has ahd its time in the sun. And then faded.

Of course, single-focus tech and consumer sites have come and gone as well. But sites which serve a clear and persistent service seem to have done better than those which stuck strictly to a flash-in-the-pan concept.

> Also on the plus side, since Google insists on real identities on G+ then we can at least look forward to more civil comments on YouTube, which I think we all agree would be a net benefit.

Most of the time I see facebook comments on an external site (I don't use facebook personally), they're little better than the average youtube comment. It's amazing what kinds of mind-bogglingly stupid, racist, sexist, and inflammatory stuff people are perfectly happy to say with they real name and photo just off to the left.

Really, the only thing I see changing with a real identity policy on youtube is that if some of the kids posting such stuff grow up, they will no longer be able to shed their past comments.

"but secondary, human-savvy products, can never be reproduced"

So, your logic is that because human-savvy products can not be reproduced, it is incumbent upon Google to reproduce them?

I don't think reproduced is the right word here. I think it's replaced. Any program that processes data can be replaced by another one. Excite was replaced by Altavista, Altavista by Google. Netscape was replaced by IE, which was replaced by Firefox, which was replaced by Chrome [1]. However, it much harder to replace Facebook. Sure the predominant social networks can and do change, but I don't know if Facebook replacing MySpace is quite the same. Yes, they are both 'social', but the interactions feel different.

Another way to describe it would be inertia. It is a lot easier to switch programs and leave nothing behind than it is to switch social networks and leave your history behind.

[1] these are just examples from my own usage - lets not argue about specifics. Never let facts can get in the way of a good story.

I believe he meant reproduction in the technical sense, which is different than ramping up widespread use of a social product.


There's definitely a better context than social: personal. You are not your friends.

Social is not a noun.

This is annoying, but how is it a huge mistake on Google's part? Sure, they're going to annoy a few people, but I think that these tactics forcing people to use G+ will probably work. People will be forced onto this G+ platform whether they like it or not; the mass exodus threats about any social networking platform never materialize into anything more than a few users deactivating their accounts.

Oh really? You mean like when everyone over age 12 threatened to leave Myspace as soon as there was something better, and then they did?

Threatening to leave because you want something on a service to be left unchaged is not equivalent to leaving a service because there's a newer, better service available. If site designers listened to everyone who gripes when a feature changes, they'd never change anything much, and inevitably would end up losing out to someone who comes along with a better product. That's much closer to what happened with MySpace - they failed to innovate, and got overtaken by FB.

i really can't think of any company on the internet who botched and ruined everything they had more than myspace. i still don't even think they're trying to improve their product yet.

Yahoo and Digg certainly seem intent on trying.

It would take pretty deep pockets to compete with YouTube at this point. Content isn't like search, so YouTube can tick a lot of people off and still not notice.

If Hulu (or Yahoo) had built professional channels, then they might have taken some of the high traffic stuff from YouTube. If the cable-viewers only rule is implemented on Hulu, then they might take myspace's crown away.

Digg's probably the only other example I can think of.

i wanted to say digg might be an example, but myspace was such a massive development that i didn't want to draw the comparison. digg's death was certainly quicker.

How much does Google gain from having a bunch of people who technically have G+ accounts, but don't actually use them for anything aside from liking/disliking videos?

They gain a bunch of people with an easy and painless upgrade path to G+ usage if/when their friends start using it. It reduces the technical friction, which is always the biggest blocker for early adopters.

Like most people, all of my friends use Facebook more or less exclusively. But I know if I have a photo in my G+ account (the Android app syncs all photos to the G+ cloud by default) I can send people a link and have a pretty reasonable assurance they can see it.

> They gain a bunch of people with an easy and painless upgrade path to G+ usage

Do they, or do they just piss people off and result in them using their services less? When Google mandated migrating youtube accounts to G+, I just let mine rot.

Normal users don't get "pissed off" like that. There's no requirement to "use" G+ to have a youtube account. They just click "OK" and continue using youtube as before. You (and the author of the linked blog) have a bone to pick with Google, which is fine. Just recognize that most people don't care. There's nothing objectively more difficult about youtube now that it's linked to G+, ditto gmail, etc...

> There's no requirement to "use" G+ to have a youtube account.

There is no way to have a youtube account anymore, Google required creating a Google account years ago.

> They just click "OK" and continue using youtube as before.

Not really, since with this new change it won't be possible to "dislike" videos (at all) and won't be possible to "like" them without splattering your watching of lolcats onto your G+ by default.

> You have a bone to pick with Google

I "have a bone to pick with Google" because I don't like the way they go about their business and scummily attempt to force me into a service I have no interest whatsoever in?

On what do you base that astounding assertion?

Uh... masklinn was self-admittedly "pissed off", Will Wheaton "made a rageface" and posted "go fuck yourself, Google"., I paraphrased those both to "bone to pick" because I thought it sounded better.

What is "astounding" about that? They sound like synonyms to me. Do you have an argument with the substance of what I wrote (regarding average users' reacions to youtube merging accounts with G+)?

The assertion I found astounding was 'Normal users don't get "pissed off" like that.' In my experience, that isn't true. There are a range of reasonably common behaviors, but getting pissed off is surely among them.

A "bone to pick" implies a preexisting grudge, which is different from simply being displeased with one decision or other.

Good grief. No, it doesn't. "I have a bone to pick with you" is a statement of immediate annoyance. Here's a thefreedictionary reference that matches my understanding. http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/have+a+bone+to+pick+with

This UK source isn't quite the connotation, though the reference to the Irish usage matches the American English one pretty well: http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/30/messages/2182.ht...

Given that two of you now have gone out of your way to deliberately (and uncharitably) misinterpret me: are you sure that I am the one with a preexisting grudge?

I don't know you from Adam. Thanks for the correction though; I was genuinely mistaken, not "deliberately and uncharitably misinterpreting" you.

If you extend this thinking far enough, they have a lot to gain. It's an extra dimension that Google can use to further refine their ad inventory against your interests. The theory is that you will see more relevant ads and Google will earn more because of it. i.e. if you like this video, and someone else liked this video, and they clicked on that ad, then maybe you'll click on that ad.

Perhaps on its own this single dimension doesn't add all that much value, but in aggregate and with a mass number of participants, it should.

They already have a ton of people who have G+ accounts and do nothing. Automatically sharing youtube likes to your G+ stream would an explosion of activity for the majority of users.

It's all about baby steps. The chicken and egg problem sometimes needs coercion in the beginning

Apart from anything else, under the 'real name' policy, it means they now attach your real name to your likes / dislikes, which presumably means they can increase the value of information they give to advertisers for targeting (I'm not saying they sell the names, but the fact they can cross reference you to a real person means they dramatically increase the value of the portfolio of other info they have).

NB: I haven't done the upgrade, but I'm presuming that when you opt into it you come to a page that exhorts you to give them your profile with your 'real' name on there instead of whatever you might have had previously in your Google account.

Actually I do think it's a big mistake and here is a simple reason why: I was wanting to share a Google document with family members a year ago. And those without Google accounts simply were not interested in getting one - despite my want for them to access the document. When I said it was quite simple to get themselves a log in they still weren't interested. They just didn't want to sign up to yet another service.

If you were sharing the doc via another service that required a login (and pretty much anything that doesn't post it to a public URL is going to), wouldn't you hit the same problem? It's hard to do collaboration (even if it's read-only collaboration) without identities.

Overall, it seems to me it's probably both more likely than a random family member will have a Google account, and/or be willing to sign up for one, than sign up for a different service that's less well-known and has fewer services based on that login.

It didn't matter if it was Google or another company to them. What was putting them off was the thought of having to manage yet another online identity and remember the credentials. These people aren't power users. They can just about cope with doing an online search, and occasionally sign into their web mail to read and send messages. The one member who had a Google account had no problems.

I could have just emailed them the document. But it was a work in progress. I just wanted them to give it a once over.

In part this is why Google are integrating their services in the first place. Centralising signing in increases the chance of participation in their other apps.

It's a case of what you already know and anything beyond that is a barrier to entry.

Did you consider that Google just cares about its own operations and future profitability than it does about your startup's future?

Google has realized it NEEDS to have some social layer and influence integrated into its services in order to compete and not fade into the archives of the web. A much lower # of likes from identified users is MUCH more valuable to Google than millions of anonymous likes.

Google likes aren't anonymous. You needed to have an account before you could thumb-up a video already. But to get a Google+ account, you have to give them your real name, or risk having your account banned.

I think this move comes down to issues of branding with google accounts.

What's happened here is replacing needing a 'Youtube' account with a 'Google' account, which for all intents and purposes has been a Google account for a while now anyway. I have a feeling that this is the beginning of consolidating the various ways in which you hold a google account for any of the services under one G+ bannner.

The problem I see they might have with this is issues of association on non-social networked activity with the G+ social network. I've found amongst my non-tech friends a strong opposition to moving from Facebook to G+ as they perceive Google to be less trustworthy than Facebook when it comes to matters of privacy, and in extreme cases to think that Google is actively evil in its data sucking in comparison.

> What's happened here is replacing needing a 'Youtube' account with a 'Google' account

No, that happened years ago, you haven't been able to log into Youtube with a Youtube account for a very, very long time. Instead, you've been greeted with this:

> Update your YouTube account by linking to a Google Account

> You will no longer be able to sign in to YouTube without a Google Account.

> If you do not want to link this YouTube account, you can sign out here.

This new move is about forcefully shoving G+ further down user throats in the hope of ever making it relevant.

G+ is a joke. Nobody outside of the tech and geek industries either wants it or uses it. And yet they carry on doing everything they can just to herd people into creating G+ accounts.

Hey, it might work. Got to get those numbers up, right? But they can't make me USE my G+ account.

"The Internet is a joke. Nobody outside of the tech and geek industries either wants it or uses it. "

sometimes, things change.

That's a terrible comparison. There was no alternative to the internet that did the same things.

"There was no alternative to the internet that did the same things."

And this is a terrible interpretation of what I intended on saying. :)

I was mocking the validity of the parents assertion because I find it has as much credibility as my ridiculous assertion.

Perhaps you were mocking mine? and if so, kudos to you sir.

Any page with a +1 button on it reports your visit back to Google. Even if you don't push the button! So now Google can mine your browsing history for advertisers.

you do realize that any page that contains google analytics (practically every website) will do the same thing right?

Good news everyone! Chrome now supports multiple profiles. So you can have one to log into Google services, and one for the rest of the web.

Can I have one tab for google, and the others for the rest of the web. Or, am I doomed to alt-tabbing between windows?

But why aren't you using your G+ account?

Let's be honest. Google+ is almost identical to Facebook. It has equivalent functionality in every respect, and in most respects it improves on that functionality. The only reason you're not using it is because nobody is there. How do you fix that? Force people to use it. As soon as a handful of people realise that it's actually better and more well designed than Facebook, people will flock there.

I'm in the tech and geek industries and I used my G+ account for about ten minutes.

This reminds me of the backlash against Facebook's "Like" button replacing the "Become a Fan" button.

Personally, I would be happy to see G+ get a little more traction among my less-techy friends and family which isn't going to happen without Google doing stuff like this.

As a user this makes me wonder how long it will be before I have to sign up for Google+ in order to watch youtube videos at all? Or to search?

Years later, it still annoys me that you need a Google account to sign up for YouTube.

What's the difference between having a Google account and a YouTube account? Google owns YouTube.

It's the difference like you have to get a Condé Nast subscription in order to comment on reddit.

Condé Nast owns reddit, remember?

I don't want to link my personal email (Gmail) account with the what cats I watch on the Internet.

Which email address would you use to register for the YouTube account?

Everyone uses the old, already spam-ridden hotmail account for that.

I liked being able to have a separate YouTube account to my Google account. Actually, I like having separate accounts for everything.

They're not crippling functionality to force people to g+. Adding a social layer to existing products can potentially make them better if done right (ie: finding content that was upvoted by people whose opinion you care about, vs randoms you don't care about).

If done wrong it can be crippling. But then it's a problem of that specific implementation, and you could make a constructive critic to improve it. Instead, the author is just raging against g+ for no good reason.

No, the author is right.

The same thing happened when they linked up gmail accounts to YT logins. I just stopped watching videos that required a login, because I didn't want to link my YT account to my gmail account for privacy reasons.

In a perverse way, I kind of like annoying "upgrades" like this. Because I have even less incentive to use the more-annoying service, I don't use it at all; and thus have more time for productive activities.

It's just funny that people want google to fuck herself while they are perfectly fine to be forced to sign in to comment either on the original article or here.

or that a bazillion other sites only give you the option to log in with your Facebook account. Haters gonna hate.

Why are you anthropomorphizing a corporation?

HN lets you sign in with an OpenID...

If I comment or upvote here, it is not broadcast to all my "friends".

I agree that Goog is currently making mistakes, but this one isn't one of them. Of course they consolidate all the upvoting and liking stuff into one database to then use that in their universal search ranking. Whining about not getting upvoted by anonymous users is a little silly, because your competition doesn't either.

If you want to talk about huge mistakes of Goog, count the seconds it takes to execute all the JS crap they have stuffed even into the simplest of their pages now. Or talk about their failed attempt of a re-design and even them following the current position:fixed; hype, cluttering small screens with headers and footers that don't scroll (the rainbow <hr> of our times).

> 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.”

Wow... can you say overreacting? Is this really that bad? Is it even bad at all? Wow.

It is just being paranoid by Viddy & Socialcam funding.

Both the apps (and Dailymotion) are deeply integrated with the FB timeline and hence getting a lot of views because of it.

People will laugh if they integrated Youtube with FB timeline. So, I think it was in their best interest to integrate it with Google+.

So, either Google+ wins or Youtube loses. I believe that most likely the latter will come true because of this move.

I think Google should buy social networks like Pinterest, Viddy or Socialcam (and leaving them they way they are) instead of ruining its own products by integrating them with Google+.

Facebook acquired Instagram in spite of it being integrated with Twitter. Google should also play the same game.

This is where I show my complete lack of understanding about Social Media, but really, what is the point of a 'like' button?

The web is built on URLs. If you like something and want to share it with people, send them a URL. That's what they're for.

> what is the point of a 'like' button?

Feedback to the author, and crowd-rating for people you don't know.

What do you think the point of HN's up and down arrows are?

Ok, I understand that. My issue is the conflating of approval with sharing.

In this case, the problem is that people without G+ cannot voice their approval. This is obviously a deliberate ploy to coerce people into joining G+, but motives aside the issue is that Google are forcing people to share when perhaps, some only want to approve.

As people have noted, whilst the frictionless sharing is good for viral marketing, in the long term it's devastating to signal vs. noise. I left Facebook largely because my stream was full of updates from people - good friends, who I enjoy talking to - that said 'John Doe likes this: "Click like for a chance to Win!"'

Ah yes, I had mis-understood the purpose of your question, sorry.

Because the sharing is usually implied by the action of liking. Clicking a like or +1 button causes your network on the associated social site to see a link to what you liked in their stream. In theory it's made it far easier to share cool things with people.

as an aside, I say 'in theory' because with the millions of 'me too' buttons scattered around the web, in even my modestly small socially networked connections, the S/N ratio has made them near enough useless.

It's done partially because "everyone else is doing it," but there is also the "wisdom of crowds" value. The number of likes or dislikes is a quick metric that can be used for sorting, searching, populating a home page, or building recommendations.

It's also a metric that because it's tied to accounts is relatively hard to game, at least in a major way.

Stop using Google! You know its a company that spies on your every move, you know they are selling your information to governments, you know they are constantly IN YOUR FACE everywhere you turn on the net these days.

They are even worse than Microsoft was back in the days, when Google came along with a clean search engine and a clean slate. These days, "dont do evil" is as ridicolous as Obamas "Change!" campaign.

Google is a strong supporter of CISPA as well. Whats left to like in this company? They make a good browser and good apps, but its not worth what they are doing to their customers.

what are your references for: (i) selling your information to governments (emphasis added) (ii) strong supporter of CISPA?

That's not selling user details.

That's sending user details to the governments.

Which we all know, are always the good guys and they want to help you with your life knowing what you search for and which websites you visit.

> I am adding now: Those upvotes are incredibly important to us, because we need them to earn another season of our show.

I'm assuming the changes are site wide, and not just targeted at you? If so, everyone will get less votes. Therefore it doesn't matter in regards to this point at all. Supply and demand right?

> You don't get people to enthusiastically use your services by forcing them to.

We're talking about a button.

It's amazing how much hyperbole and irrationality comes out the woodwork when small changes are made. How is such an angry meaningless blog post making it's way to front page of HN?

unless when Youtube set any requirements to earn continued funding it was based on hard numbers, in which case they may simply see fewer of their content partners make the cut to continue.

Stupid? Yes, but it's dangerous to just assume they'll do the right thing. Frankly they should have added a + button on top of thumbs up/down so you could easily share as a separate feature, not replace the thumbs.

Remembers me how frustrated I was when I shared pictures from Picasa with people on my contact list and what it did, without warning me, was to send everyone a Google+ invitation.

Yeah. Google+ got me labeled as a spammer as well.

I had no idea, until I got told (in person) much, much later at some party that I was "spamming them".

Thanks for handling your social network in a non-evil way Google. Appreciated.

Given that you need a google account to access YouTube in the first place, shouldn't google already have all the data they need here? They don't seem to gain much with this...

You don't need a Google account to access YouTube. You might need one to post comments, upload and access private videos - but it's not a necessity.

Almost positive you need one to thumbs up and down, which is where this becomes an issue.

Tabletop made a huge mistake making their bottom line dependent on YouTube's upvoting system. What if YouTube decides to get rid of the "Thumbs up" system? Or if Google wants a share of your revenue from this service? See edw519's comments here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2255615

Mistake? Youtube funded them (and all of Geek and Sundry) as part of an initiative to get better content onto Youtube. That's like saying taking VC is a mistake as an entrepreneur.

> That's like saying taking VC is a mistake as an entrepreneur.

Not quite, but nice try. Though, in a way, even if it did apply, it's still holds water. If you are 100% dependent on VC funding you for your survival and operations, then yeah, mistakes are being made.

Rather, it's like resting your entire business on a single entity, one big customer. If that customer goes away, you lose your funding. Sorry, but if you think being reliant on another businesses for all your funding is smart, you're in for a rude awakening.

This... does not appear to be a thing. Wil Wheaton is great and all, but I and most of the commenters on his blog are still seeing normal, non-G+-integrated thumbs up/down buttons.

Is anyone else facing a related problem, like I am -- that YouTube inexplicably deleted their videos because there is no Google+ account associated with the YouTube account? That's the only explanation I can see for what happened to an account I created for a client. All of our videos were taken down, and it says they were "removed by user" -- which they most definitely were not. Other data points on this would be appreciated.

This is nothing. What I'm more concerned about for Google's sake is all of the people giving up their Android phones for iPhones. It isn't an immediately obvious trend but it will be within the next two years as people's contracts run out.

Google needs to refocus on search and advertising, and put more effort into R&D that might actually have world impact and significant ROI like perfecting and licensing driverless car technology.

Does YouTube share playlist popularity for videos? I've been using YouTube since the early days and have several thousand videos in my "Favorites" folder yet have almost never used the thumbs up/down (I don't see a direct benefit). If I've dumped a video in my favorites for watching again later, that should carry more weight for what WW wants likes for.

While I appreciate the sentiment and agree with his point of view, his simply telling Google 'go fuck yourself' doesn't really offer an in-depth critique of why these changes or wrong -- it just smacks of the same old 'Everything that's new sucks' sentiment that I can and do find on IRC every day already. Leave the analyses to the real UX folks.

UX folks? This is an actual end user expressing strong dislike of something and explaining why. That should have much more weight than "UX folks", unless it is a rare piece of dissat in otherwise glowing feedback, though I doubt it. I have a Google+ account but I would not sign in (or up for one) just to rate a video, I would just say "meh" and wander off elsewhere on the internet. I doubt that would be an uncommon reaction and would change the meaning of the up/down votes from "What do most people think of this video" to "What do Google+ users think of this video". Those are two very different metrics.

I don't think it's meant to be an in depth critique, it's his feedback as a user. He doesn't need to be a design expert or UX expert to know that as a user something is annoying. The real UX folks should be listening to users, they don't have to agree or implement everything said, but they should be listening.

The point seems to be don't rob people of functionality they've come to expect just to push sign-ups.

I don't think it's meant to be an in depth critique, it's his feedback as a user.

It sounds like it's more his feedback as a creator, worried about what the functionality will do to users. But, you know, those are the breaks when you sharecrop on someone else's land: they retain the right to change things for their own benefit.

Still don't quite understand the complaint, though. You've long needed a Google account to give feedback on YouTube. Now they call those accounts G+ accounts (just as Hotmail accounts became Live accounts, etc). What's the problem?

sidenote -- gah, accidentally downvoted you when I was trying to select text. Apologies.

When I read his blog post I assumed he has a YouTube account that is not linked to his Google account. You can unlink them[1]. It's also possible to have an account with Google without being on G+.

My understanding of his complaint is that he was signed in to youtube, which is why it's billed as an 'upgrade.' He should be able to easily use YouTube with a YouTube account. I think that's where the complaint comes in, it's not just calling the account something different, it's making things more difficult for those who might want to keep some things separate.

That doesn't make your points any less true, but I at least think I understand the complaint.

edit: also no worries on the downvote ;)


> his simply telling Google 'go fuck yourself' doesn't really offer an in-depth critique of why these changes or wrong

Well it's good that in addition to "go fuck yourself", he offered an in-depth critique of why these changes are wrong. I guess maybe you stopped reading before that?

> Leave the analyses to the real UX folks.

Whoa now, hold on just a goddamned minute. What "real UX folks" say only holds weight insofar as it accurately pertains to the interaction and communication of producers and consumers. When content producers say "This change breaks an important connection to our users", then "UX folks" had better listen good and hard.

The main reason he gives is that it increases the barrier to entry for liking a video, which is important for many content creators. (like him) This seems concrete and significant. I don't agree however with his assessment of this changing the funding equation for people getting production funded. As long as the change applies globally, everyone should feel the hit equally and it they should be able to correct for it.

It won't hit people equally, though. It will hit people who have viewers who are signup-averse harder. Kids watching lolcats tend to be much more willing to sign up to anything so they can post their roflcopter than technically minded adults with interesting things to say.

Guess which market Wheaton is going after?

Okay I'll bite:

Look at where that G+ button is. It's big, its first, and it combines, as-one, an already existing feature -- the "Like" button.

The G+ button isn't optionial, placed in a "secondary" position (i.e. to the right), or a single feature/choice.

That's probably why users are getting upset with this, UX background or not.

That's his express of strong emotion, which is a very important data point for UX. Emotion trumps cool analytic fact in any day for UX. When a user is extremely annoyed, you change you UI/UX.

"Emotion trumps cool analytic fact in any day for UX."

Uh, no, it doesn't, at least not at any responsible software project I've worked on. The whole reason you run experiments, A/B testing, etc is so that this doesn't happen.

Does not seem like a UX issue, but rather a business decision.

"While I appreciate the sentiment and agree with his point of view, his simply telling Google 'go fuck yourself' doesn't really offer an in-depth critique of why these changes [are] wrong"

what you said is literally false. here's his in-depth critique:

"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...

Those upvotes are incredibly important to us, because we need them to earn another season of our show...

[this] will negatively affect how users can interact with us on YouTube."

translation: "we might lose the ability to do our show, because this G+ +1 button introduces friction and a sign-up process we don't expect our users will bother to complete."

> translation: "we might lose the ability to do our show, because this G+ +1 button introduces friction and a sign-up process we don't expect our users will bother to complete."

Yeah, but he misses the next step in logical thinking which is that the changes will apply to everyone. This new button is for everyone, which means everyone will get less votes which means less are needed for him to continue to run the show.

Everyone will get less votes in different proportions, based on their audience.

It's not a linear adjustment for everyone.

Of course, but I imagine the proportional increase/decrease will probably be the same with the people he's competing with.

That's not the point the author is arguing anyway.

"Yeah, but he misses the next step in logical thinking which is that the changes will apply to everyone."

no he doesn't, not at all. he "misses" this step because while it might be logical over the long term for the world on average, it's irrelevant to his business.

if you've got a deal in place, based on existing expectations of the number of upvotes, and Google changes how upvotes happen, your existing deal is threatened. it's like if you agree to work for an hourly rate right before your government devalues their currency.

I believe what's happening here is he has a certain number of upvotes which he needs to obtain if his show is going to continue. for instance he might have a deal with investors, or he might just want to compete with pre-existing vidoes whose upvotes (achieved under the previous system) are already secure. Google made it harder for him to get upvotes, thus disrupting his business.

it's cool to disrupt businesses but if you set yourself up as a platform and then you disrupt businesses built on your platform, that's less cool. that's an unstable platform and a dangerous place to do business.

The blogger is to be frank an absolute dumb nut! He is not losing more viewers. In fact he is gaining them. If people upvote your video and it goes onto a social network site that is outside of your "youtube channel" that just means that you are turning on automatic sharing. Ofcourse, an option that lets the user who is upvoting to choose whether he wants to share it or not is all that is needed.

If he does share it, that just gives your video and even greater probability of going viral. Why cant content publishers get this?

I had a similar response to "fab" this evening, some kind of design site. It looked interesting but in order to even view a product linked from facebook they required me to sign up. Immediate rage; I can't investigate if the site is interesting enough to meriting signing up because signing up is required to investigate. No thanks.

This newest change won't affect me too much because I wrote a Google Chrome extension to keep my YouTube and regular Google accounts separate. However, as the author suggests, content creators will not be so lucky.

Please try my extension if you're interested -


Personally I think removing the thumbs up and down is a huge mistake. I understand that video producers don't like them, but guess what, when I load a YouTube video the rating is the first thing I look at, and if it's under 50% I know that the video will be crap. That judgement has been right EVERY time.

Google are doing this because the reason G+ is floundering is nobody is on there.

Forcing people to use it is one way of getting more people on there. If even on in a thousand people stays to look around, that could mean a snowball effect that causes a massive spike in G+ users.

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.”

I don't think it is "just as bad" but it is quite obnoxious.

Flip side: wouldn't it be nice if everything you had just played well together? I don't see such rage when evernote is going to get the boot in osx 10.8.

Huh? Why won't Evernote work in OS X Mountain Lion?

I think the mistake here is that a company that collectively suffers from Asperger's syndrome should not try to "bring the social".

Stick to your core competence always.

With more money, you'll have more options in life. With less money, you've to pick the right option. Google has lots of money.

Is it me, or is this post exceedingly whiny?

The one video I checked still had the typical thumbs-up and thumbs-down feature.

Yeah, I still have the old buttons. I checked when signed in with my G+ account and also with a non-G+ account.

Google Plus already fucked up a good portion of faithful GReader users. The share feature used to be a very nice feature used exclusively among a group of people, not it just sucks. Also the G+ button tries to re-crawle the RSS source, so it lags and is anoying as fuck.

It's perfectly reasonable that Google would try to consolidate their properties. You used to need a YouTube account to do anything, and they own YouTube and don't feel like managing disparate databases about their users. It may be a minor inconvenience because it's a change from what people are used to, but it makes sense logistically and serves their business interests. They ARE a business after all...

Not really. "Like" and "Dislike" are a core part of Youtube, removing them and replacing them with a vote on another site (even if Google own it) is pretty lame. I "Like" stuff on Youtube when I either want to signal it's a good video and boost the videos rank or share it with my youtube subscribers, I don't do it because I want to share the video with someone on google+.

As a user and a video creator this would annoy me a lot. If they want to add a G+ button fine, but replacing a core feature? Unacceptable.

5 start rating used to be a "core part of YouTube".

Like / Dislike is the rating system evolved, there was an article about how they had come to the decision through research that a 1 - 5 rating system doesn't work; people more often than not either like it or they dislike it, so 1 and 5 were the common votes.

If you want to be pedantic then sure, they removed a core part of Youtube when they removed the rating system, but in reality the system evolved. 1 - 5 was (at it's core) a way to rate videos: like / dislike is (at it's core) a way to rate videos, the interface and finer points are different but it's still the same thing overall.

Then it could well evolve further. I don't see a need for the "dislike" button.

His point was about requiring a login on another social network to vote on a video, when you're already logged in to Youtube.

You somehow boiled it down to a discussion on the lack of a "thumbs down" button. I think you're off track here. YMMV.

What "other social network"? Google, + ,and YouTube accounts are on their way to becoming one (if they aren't already).

Google doesn't care what info you put in when you sign up for a "normal" account, they just use it to correlate interests for ads and recommendations on the site. But to sign up for Google+ you have to use your real name or risk being banned.

Google+ and Youtube have always been mentally separated.

I could like videos on Youtube without the risk of them appearing anywhere or being used for anything. This has changed. And frankly it sucks.

As a business they must realize that alienating users is against their business interests. I don't see what the big problem would be in leaving the thumbsup-thumbsdown options alongside the +1 button.

YouTube is a social network in itself (at this point a much more powerful one than Google+) so they have to respect its users and not try to force them to signup for the other network.

I don't personally vote on Youtube videos but I can understand how a video publisher might be upset that he's suddenly going to be getting fewer likes on his content.

Again it seems this was just a test, so considering the negative user feedback I certainly hope it stays just that.

YouTube is not Google. Google is not YouTube. They just happen to own it. Google should start remembering that before YouTube gets myspaced.

Which imo is looking increasingly likely.

Vimeo is one competitor which seems to already be growing like crazy for example.

Vimeo will never overtake Youtube because of their draconian policies on copyrighted content. For example, you're not allowed to upload videos that show videogame gameplay unless it's a game you developed yourself (and shows like these are a BIG part of Youtube's audience).

Hmm, I always thought the restriction on game recordings was just a way to curate the community.

Man, people really like to make ridiculous predictions about which big site is going to be "the next Myspace." Youtube has DAYS worth of video uploaded every single minute. When people talk about online video they always mention Youtube, not Vimeo, not some other site. You really think that it looks increasingly likely that Youtube is going to somehow go under? Sorry but that's just bogus.

Go to any reddit video subreddit apart from comedy ones. All the 'classy' ones with high quality videos are vimeo dominated now. That's all changed in roughly a year. I know a video production company and their 'video of the week' are invariably vimeo videos now. Because all the cool indie filmmakers post there now instead of YouTube.

Youtube has lost their total dominance. Youtube is no longer the be all and end all of online video. Vimeo started off capturing business videos from youtube as they looked more professional, now they're capturing the indie filmmakers.

I said they need to be careful about not pushing YouTube into MySpace territory, not that they will. Nor did I say Vimeo are the next YouTube. You could see the video market fragment as it's not all or nothing as Social Networks are.

And who cares about the quantity that gets uploaded to YouTube, you know most of it's long tail junk. It's where the viewers go, not who has the most crappy video of their dog rolling around for a tasty treat.

YouTube isn't going anywhere

youtube has been going downhill for several years now. The only thing that keeps people from fleeing is the poor alternatives out there, so far..


Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact