If I go to a viral video, and I see comments on it from people I actually KNOW, I personally think that would be really cool. That was completely impossible, the old way.
I keep seeing companies pushing this idea on us, but I just don't get it. The math doesn't work. There are umpty millions of pieces of "content" that might be reviewed. I have at most a few hundred actual friends. (I imagine those who push beyond that have also pushed well beyond the intimacy frontier where they really care what you think about YouTube Video #283572738.) The median number of reviews that a given friend is likely to generate in a sufficiently formal manner that Google can figure it out is zero.
If you live in some sort of bizarre homogenous bubble where all your friends are just like you and have effectively the same tastes, and a lot of your friends insist on reviewing every last Youtube video they see, and yet, have some sort of diversity of opinion that you might actually care about, this might work.
But even stereotypical college students don't live like this. Maybe frat houses, but even then, you've got family circles, other non-frat friends, etc, and I doubt your frat brothers are going to be sitting there churning out enough reviews on things that you all care about that seeing a review from someone you "know" is going to be anything other than an exceptional occurrence, and a review you care about even less so. ("Yes, my frat brothers love the latest Call of Duty. I could tell that by the way we all played it for 14 hours straight last night. I did not need Google+ to tell me that.")
(If they did sit there and review everything, it would just turn into a backchannel for chat anyhow... "This beer is awesome, just ask John about last night... here's a link to some photos that the beer company would pay good money not to have associated with their beer...")
I'm not saying that there's absolutely nobody this will be useful for, but it seems to be a very, very specialized group of people hardly worth the immense effort being put into this idea by companies. The amount of possible "things to review" just swamps the number of friends a person can have, and standard lurker/poster ratios tend to imply that "nobody" writes reviews. (And I gotta think these sites have even worse lurker/poster ratios than something like Usenet or HN, probably by an order of magnitude or two or three.)
I was going to complain about the impossibility of being intimately acquainted with hundreds of people enough to call them friend only to find out my dictionary had a new definition for friend:
> "a contact associated with a social networking website"
In which case, carry on I guess.
I've never spontaneously seen a comment on Youtube from someone I know, as far as I can recall. However, it's really, really common to have friends of mine on Facebook share the same thing. This happens even for friends of mine that don't know or interact with each other. I think to avoid a fair amount of overlap you'd have to be very careful about adding only friends with orthogonal tastes...
One of the reasons that things like politics are getting so polarized is that's it's really easy to fall into the "bizarre homogenous bubble", and that's where most people stay, online.
I share videos with my friends and family, and seeing their comments at the top of the list of comments on those videos would be great.
Also, I could probably list 1,000 videos that most of us have seen. Never Going to Give You Up. Gangnam Style. The list goes on and on.
And then there's professionally. I know hundreds of people from former and current jobs who tend to be interested in the same work-related videos. Programming languages, stuff related to our domain, technologies we could use, etc.
But if you Share with a Community, and the people comment on the video, it would work.
Insert clever emoticon which indicates shrugging.
I'm frankly stunned to see people complaining about the death of the previous YouTube comment system. Remember that one insightful, helpful, or funny YouTube comment that you saw that one time? Me, either.
Or really creepy.
a- Imagine you're going to a real world bookstore. You look at the back cover of a few books and all the reviews are by your Google+ "friends". Customized for you to increase the chances you're buying it. (If ads are going everywhere and you try to ignore them, what will be left?)
b- In your holidays you're traveling to another continent. After arriving, you're surprised that you see the faces of your Facebook stalkers everywhere. Would you like that?
c- Your government rolls out new mandatory ID smartcards for both the offline and online worlds. Soon after they require everybody to sign their TCP packets with those cards. A friendly smiling illustration of a computer asks you to swipe your card to login to your OS. Have a safe journey online!
b - I don't understand. If someone is an unwanted 'stalker' to me, they aren't likely going to be a facebook friend. Even if they were, I think I'll be OK seeing their faces 'everywhere'.. seeing as how I can distinguish fairly well between image and reality.
c - So governments will not only manage to make Mandatory World ID happen, they'll be somehow forcing people to "sign their TCP packets" with them? If that's not intended to be a wildly exaggerated parody, you really may need to loosen the tinfoil wrapped around your head up a bit.
b - That would be awesome (since I assume you mean the beter direct analogy, which would be that any of my Facebook friend's statements about being there are visible. Now I know who to chat with about restaurants, sights, etc.)
c - Can you say strawman? Making up a dystopian future and placing it alongside something you don't like doesn't make the thing you don't like any more like it.
Youtube comments are universally derided as trash. This might make it better. It might also simply stop a lot of comments. And in fact, probably both.
This change, like it or don't like it, should not be conflated with, "Now Google will only show my comments from my friends." For better or worse, it means Google will know more about connections between people and the things they like. There are plusses (beyond seeing my friends' comments) and minuses to that.
(As it happens, I booked it via Hotwire where you theoretically don't know the exactly hotel you're getting until you pay. With a little searching you can normally work out which hotel it is, based on the area and facilities of the hotel.)
And I'm not sure I'm the only one thinking that way. If I want to talk about a video, I can, you know, share it (I can even share it on Google+, that way Google loses nothing). If it turns out to be a really cool video, I'll even maybe get to impress my friends that way.
"This is a cool display technology." -John Carmack
"Here's a great link to send to skeptics about global climate change." -Al Gore
"This article is pseudo-science at best, and lies at worst." -Bill Nye
"I'm sorry, Pluto." -Neil deGrasse Tyson
Without attribution, none of those comments are remotely interesting. (They're all made up, but you get the idea.)
When I Search for things now, I see top results from previous co-workers, who have Shared things. Those results LEAP out at me.
That of course means we've moved from "abysmal" to "shitty" but hey, progress is progress.
IMO Google could have avoided most of the backlash by making every youtube account a G+ account too, then if you want to link the two, have a simple merge account functionality between G+ and YouTube. The Charlie Foxtrot of forcing real names and linked accounts has obvious motivations for Google, but the backlash was predictable and isn't going away.