YouTube + Google+ = Engagement?

November 3, 2011

Google hasn’t had much trouble getting people to sign up for its Google+ social networking service. But getting people to come back every day and use the service as obsessively as they do with Facebook has been a trickier proposition.

Sure, Google says that more than 3.4 billion photos have already been uploaded by users on Google+, but as anyone who’s been on the service can plainly see, there just doesn’t seem to be the same frenetic level of user activity as there is on Facebook.

That’s where YouTube comes in.

On Thursday, visitors to Google+ were greeted with a small YouTube logo button, displayed prominently on the top right-hand side of their newsfeed. Click on the YouTube Logo and it slides open to reveal a text box asking “what would you like to play?”

Type the name of a singer or musician– or any topic, from bocce ball to barbeque — and a YouTube video begins to play in a pop-up window, with a playlist of related videos queued up and ready to go.

Users can quickly share videos they like with their friends on Google+, and friends who watch a shared video on Google+ can quickly tap into the related playlist.

In a blog post announcing the feature, Google head of social Vic Gundotra described it as “shipping the Google in Google+.”

YouTube is one of Google’s most successful assets. And watching videos on YouTube is one of the most popular online activities – more than 3 billion videos are viewed every day and 800 million people visit the YouTube website every month, according to YouTube.

If Google can get just a fraction of those people to satisfy their YouTube habit from directly within Google+, and then get them to share some of those videos with others on Google+, the company’s social network might not seem like such a quiet place.

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