it was YouTube, which at the same time launched a snazzy new design. The redesign is not only visually more colorful and appealing, it also promotes sharing in a big way. YouTube is enabling you to autoshare to four different social networks: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Orkut. But wait... notice anything missing there? That's right, Google+ is not included in the autosharing.Today Google rolled out the latest of its Google+ integration projects. This time
On the face of it, this makes little sense. Now I can 'like' a video on YouTube and it automatically shows up on my Facebook wall and Twitter feed. That's actually very cool. It saves me having to manually share things, yet I still control the autosharing (as I have to click the 'like' button in YouTube). Indeed this is frictionless sharing the way it should be - the user is in control of what gets shared, but it's made much easier for them. So why on earth isn't Google+ part of the autosharing?
To clarify, the integration between YouTube and Google+ mainly takes the form of a new menu option on your YouTube homepage. Clicking the G+ logo in the left-hand menu enables you to see which YouTube videos your Google+ friends shared. You can do the same with your Facebook friends (the menu option directly below Google+). What I'm asking in this post is: why doesn't Google enable autosharing of YouTube content to Google+ itself? Because it does allow that for Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and MySpace.
Here is how it works in YouTube as of today. Go to your YouTube settings page. To set up autosharing, check off some or all of the options in the middle column ("On connected accounts") and then connect each social network you'd like to send videos to.
To test this, I 'liked' a Noel Gallagher video. Sure enough, it automatically got published to my Facebook wall, Twitter feed and MySpace account.
There are quirks in YouTube's design - for example, after liking that video I was still prompted to share it to Facebook (see the Facebook button below the video in the screenshot above). Other than that, the process works as advertised.
So why can't I automatically send this Noel Gallagher video that I liked to Google+? If I want to show that video to my friends on Google+, I'll need to manually share it. And, as Noel himself might say, I can't be arsed doing that.
A Delicate Balance
What Google appears to be doing is trying to entice people to spend more time on YouTube, browsing videos that their friends (on G+, Facebook and more) have recommended. That certainly ties into Google's strategy of making Google+ less of a standalone social network and more the social glue over all of its products. Google doesn't want to highlight Google+ too much as a place where you can watch cool videos.
It's a delicate balance, but it comes at the cost of inconvenience to Google+ users. You have to manually share a video to Google+, a process which takes a few clicks and precious Internet minutes (admittedly a #firstworldproblem). Whereas you can share videos you like to Facebook and Twitter with a single click of a button on YouTube.
This has been one of the frustrating things about Google+ from the start, that you cannot autoshare things to it. On Twitter and Facebook, there are ways to share content from external services automatically. Indeed, Facebook is increasingly headed in that direction with its so-called frictionless sharing features - which admittedly may have overstepped the line between useful sharing and over sharing. But for example, on both Facebook and Twitter you can automatically share content from your blog via RSS. I think that's a good thing, because it makes it easier for people to share what they think will be of interest to their friends.
It's understandable that Google+ wants to avoid spam. OK, what people consider to be spam varies widely (one of my brothers once accused me of "spamming" him on Facebook because I autoshare the RWW posts I write). But surely autosharing a YouTube video that you like to your friends on Google+ isn't spamming. In any case, you can manually share a YouTube video on Google+. So is making that process easier really going to cause spam issues on Google+? I highly doubt it.
What do you think, should Google add its own social network - Google+ - to the autoshare options in YouTube? I vote yes, but let me know if you agree.