YouTube + Google+ = Engagement?

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.

Google+ to Facebook: TMI!

Vic Gundotra, Google’s head of social, doesn’t care about every song his friends are listening to and every article they’ve read.

“We do not believe in over-sharing,” he said at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Gundotra may not have said “Facebook,” but his comments were aimed directly at the world’s No.1 social networking service, which recently introduced a so-called “frictionless sharing” feature in which a user can elect to have all their online activities – such as the names of the videos they’re watching and the songs they’re listening to – automatically broadcast to their friends.