Back in September Google launched a new partnership with YouTube, and by now you’ve surely either noticed that change or noticed all of the negative comments surrounding the change. It’s always tough to know what Google’s real intentions are when they come up with such huge proposals, but intentional or not intentional, this is one area where users are really fighting back. For a small business, this leads to several questions: First, what’s going on, and second, does this mean anything for my small business?

How the Google+ and YouTube Integration Works

The idea behind the integration was to integrate Google+ information with YouTube comments. Most of the features Google has in mind have already been implemented, but a few will be rolling out throughout the year. Below explains the different changes or features that were added:

  • Comments are sorted by relevancy as opposed to when the comment was actually posted. For example, the video’s creator or popular YouTube personalities/celebrities would rank above other comments even if those other comments had a lot of likes and/or replies.
  • A user must now attach their Google+ profile in order to comment on YouTube.
  • Users will now see Google+ comments in their YouTube channel discussion tabs.
  • You can now begin a conversation on YouTube based upon your Google+ circles. For example, if you wanted to privately (or publically) create a comment about a video on YouTube with just your friends in your Google+ circles, you can do that.
  • The YouTube video creator will be able to moderate all comments, which will include tools to block certain words or auto-approve comments from specific people.

The new initiative is considered a new commenting platform that many are calling “YouTube comments powered by Google+.” Below is a screenshot from the official announcement from Google back in September that shows how YouTube comments will now look:

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The Positives to the New Google+ and YouTube Integration

Although many people are unhappy, the awareness to improve YouTube for users was definitely there. The idea behind the change by Google was surely to do a few different things:

First, YouTube comments were very long and disorganized with little moderation, so they didn’t seem quite as effective as they could be.

Second, YouTube comments have become more hurtful over the years (as Macklemore even says in his hit song “Same Love”), so another level of moderation seemed like the right move.

Third, Google wants the comments that people care about to show up at the top—your friends, celebrities, etc.—as opposed to just anyone who happened to visit the page. Google gave the following example:

“Let’s say you’re watching a video from Justin Timberlake. What type of video comment would be awesome to see: one from JT himself, one from people you care about who love the video…or one from just the last random person to stop by?”

Lastly, for selfish reasons from Google, they will be able to get more information about users this way, which should help the actual Google+ network. Young people sometimes spend all day browsing YouTube videos, and according to a TechCrunch article, “capturing that audience is crucial to G+’s social network avoiding a reputation of being old and boring.”

It seems like a great idea and a way to keep things relevant across more than just the number one search engine (in fact, YouTube is considered the second largest search engine in the US). So why all the backlash?

The Google+ and YouTube Integration Criticism Explained

According to Marketing Land, a YouTube Product Forum has seen 900 new topics added about the issue in the last 24 hours (November 14). The topics expressed anger over the fact that this is a forced change and not a choice and, likely because of this, it’s an invasion of privacy because you are asked to use your real name. You don’t have to use your real name as of now, but creating a fake profile and having to switch back and forth is reason enough to get upset. Why should you have to connect your personal Google+ if you want to comment on videos on YouTube?

It seems that the backlash also comes from the idea that Google is abusing its power and seems to be taking over one network (YouTube) that people have been happy with in the past. PCMag.com also brought up a video by musician Emma Blackery where she says, “Well we just want our website back; Why is that so hard to understand?” The video already has 1,069,307 views and 14,021 comments in just six days. Most of the comments actually display a graphic that looks like this:

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Google will have more information about its users now that YouTube browsing habits are connected to each person’s identity, so it’s interesting also to consider how targeting ads will now change. Well, for many the word isn’t “interesting” so much as “frightening” or “annoying.”

What This Means for Your Small Business

When it comes to YouTube, small businesses sometimes have YouTube channels that show off a product or a video detailing how to do something—just a good way to engage with multiple audiences and on multiple platforms. All in all, the changes would probably work in favor of small businesses.

Not only does it put the person uploading the video in more control (which will almost always be someone in your business), but also the information Google could gain could really help improve targeting advertising and get your content, video or no video, in front of a relevant audience. Only time will tell how this plays out and how small businesses take advantage.

What are your thoughts on this Google+ new initiative? Do you think this could be a positive for users and businesses? Do you think Google will listen to users to remove the new feature? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.