Google+ification is the term I’ve been using for several months about how Google has been shoving Google+ into all things Google. It’s part of Google’s “social layer” strategy. It’s also something one of its most popular users, actor Wil Wheaton, has had enough with.
Thumbs Down To Google+ Like
Watching a YouTube video yesterday, Wheaton found that rather than getting YouTube’s normal Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down buttons, he only had an option to use a Google+ button to like it. The screenshot he posted:
That sent Wheaton off on a rant at Tumblr:
Oh, go f**k 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 dickheads.
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**king social network they don’t want or need.
Neil Gaiman Not Happy, Either
I wish Google would leave the Social Network thing to others. When Google does what it does, and does it well, it changes the world. When it rides bandwagons, it’s irritating.
I’m not on Google Plus, and I suppose that I won’t be liking YouTube videos any longer.
Just A Test?
So what’s up with the change? So far, I can’t replicate it myself. Logged in, I see the normal buttons on one of Wheaton’s own videos:
Wheaton was logged out of Google when he got the Google+ buttons instead. Well, logged out, I still see exactly the same as above.
But no, Wheaton’s not crazy. It seems as if Google is testing these buttons with some users and regardless of logged-in status. Here’s a video that VleraBrite posted about it last month:
In fact, VleraBrite found three different buttons in use with no dislike button:
“What’s going on YouTube? Make up your mind,” the narrator asks.
What’s going on is pretty typical of Google testing different things. Whether one of these tests will stick for everyone remains to be seen. I’m checking with Google on this.
Postscript: Google tells me, “We are currently running experiments showing different Google+ buttons in YouTube in order to provide the best user experience. People are familiar with the concept of liking and following brands, businesses and activities in a social context.”
As for some pros and cons why Google+ does make sense for Google and isn’t just riding bandwagons, but also how it also can be so annoying when pushed the wrong way, see my post from last month, If Google’s Really Proud Of Google+, It Should Share Some Real User Figures. It gets into a lot more issues than just user figures.
Hat tip to Danah Boyd for spotting this.