Can Google afford to alienate influential Google+ advocates?

Google Plus Circles

As Google continues to integrate elements of Google+ into Google products like search and Gmail, an alteration to YouTube recently caught the attention of actor and writer Wil Wheaton. Specifically drawing ire from Wheaton, Google replaced the “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” voting buttons on the YouTube video player with a single Google+ Like button. Using this button requires a YouTube visitor to open up a Google+ account, thus Google is likely attempting to increase the amount of people sharing video to the relatively new social network. 

Google+ YouTube SharingWheaton posted an angry opinion about the implementation of the button on his Tumblr and stated “Oh, go f*** yourself, Google. This is just as bad as companies forcing me to “like” something on Facebook before I can view whatever it is they want me to “like.” Just let me thumbs up something, without forcing me to “upgrade” to G+, you d***heads. The worst part of this? For a producer like me, I’m going to lose a crapton of potential upvotes for Tabletop, because the core of my audience is tech-savvy and may not want to “upgrade” to yet another f***ing social network they don’t want or need.”

The Tumblr post was shared over 2,000 times since being posted and has seen support from authors Neil Gaiman and John Green. Green posted “I strongly agree with this. Making it so that only Google Plus users can decide whether a YouTube video is worth watching benefits no one except for Google Plus: It is bad for viewers, bad for video creators, and bad for YouTube’s ability to curate and tailor videos to potential viewers.” on his Tumblr

Wil Wheaton

Definitely an influential voice on social media services, Wheaton has amassed approximately 1.4 million followers on Google+, nearly two million followers on Twitter and about 80,000 subscribers to his public Facebook updates. While a portion of his social network notoriety can be attributed to his work playing Wesley Crusher on four seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as his more recent appearances on the popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, much of his popularity on the Web has stemmed from his published books, consistent blogging and his adept grasp of social networks like Twitter. 

Within a followup blog post, Wheaton explains that he likes Google+ as a service and is impressed with Hangouts. However, it’s obvious that he doesn’t care for Google’s continued pressure to push Google+ on users of various Google-owned services. Wheaton specifically states “You get people to enthusiastically use services by making them compelling and awesome and easy to use. You don’t get people to enthusiastically use your services by forcing them to. In fact, that’s probably a great way to ensure that a huge number of people who may have been interested in trying out your service never even look at it.” 

Wheaton’s public activity on Google+ is definitely less frequent than his public posts to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or even his Typepad blog. While he may be sharing more content with specific circles within Google+, he only posted publicly eight times on his Google+ account during the month of April. Comparatively, Wheaton has tweeted eight times in the past two hours on his Twitter account at the publication time of this article.

According to a statement released to Mashable by a Google representative, the company is only testing the button on certain accounts in order to get feedback from the community. Depending on the feedback, Google will make a decision on replacing the current voting button with the +1 Like button across all YouTube videos.

While the incident can be attributed to experimentation, it’s definitely a gamble to test the button on influential users that have a large social media following and can reach a large number of potential users. With the average Google+ user spending only three minutes a month on the social network, it’s unclear if Google has a plan to encourage users to share content on the social network beyond forcing Google+ actions on other Google-owned properties.


Google Stadia is the upcoming Netflix for games that will hurt game creators

Google Stadia promises a world where gaming is more convenient than ever, but it’s a future that will damage the way people make games.

Google Chrome will get a Reader Mode for distraction-free desktop browsing

If Google's testing of Reader Mode on the Chrome Canary desktop browser is successful, soon all Chrome users will gain access to this feature. Reader Mode strips away irrelevant content on a webpage for distraction-free browsing.

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Smart Home

Google Home Hub smart display will reportedly be renamed the Google Nest Hub

Insiders reportedly familiar with Google's plans confirmed the Google Home Hub will be rebranded Google Nest Hub. Citing accidental leaks in the Google Store about the Nest Home Max, informed sources suggest a May 7 launch date.
Social Media

Looking to officially rid your inbox of Facebook messages? Here's how

Deleting messages from Facebook Messenger is almost as easy as scrolling through your News Feed. Here, we show you how to delete an entire conversation or a single message, both of which take seconds.
Social Media

LinkedIn: Now you can express love, curiosity, and more with new Reactions

LinkedIn is following in the footsteps of Facebook (three years later!) with the rollout of new reactions that give users more ways to express themselves when responding to posts in their feed.
Social Media

Twitter’s experimental Twttr app is even more popular than the real thing

Twttr, the new app that lets regular Twitter users test new features, is proving more popular than the main app, according to the company. The revelation suggests some of the innovations may land for all Twitter users soon.
Social Media

Messenger and Facebook, together again? Facebook tests integrating chats

Longing for the old days where Facebook and Messenger were one app? Facebook is testing an integrated chat option. While Messenger remains more feature-rich, the test brings some chat functionality back into the Facebook app.
Social Media

How to download Instagram Stories on iOS, Android, and desktop

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.
Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp went down worldwide for 2 hours this morning

Chaos erupted on the internet this morning, as Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp all went down from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 9 a.m. Thousands of users were unable to access the sites or send or receive Whatsapp messages.

Skype screen sharing for mobile will let you share your swipes on dating apps

Skype is prepping the launch of screen sharing for mobile so you can share your swipes on dating apps, shop with buddies, or, perhaps, show a PowerPoint presentation to coworkers. It's in beta just now, but anyone can try it.
Social Media

Facebook toys with mixing Stories and News Feed into one swipeable carousel

Facebook's News Feed could look a lot like Stories if a prototype the social media giant is working on rolls out to users. The design change mixes Stories and News Feed posts into a full-screen slideshow that users swipe left to navigate.
Social Media

No more moon showers as Facebook Messenger’s dark mode gets official rollout

Facebook Messenger launched a dark mode last month, but to activate it you had to message the crescent moon to someone. Now it's been rolled out officially, and it can be accessed in a far more sensible way — via settings.

Twitter has revealed a launch date for its handy hide replies features

Twitter has revealed a launch date for a feature that lets users hide replies to their tweets. The hope is that it will help the original poster filter out offensive or irrelevant content from conversation threads.