Image of youtube channle

Is Google planning to meld youtube and Google+ into one social media entity to religate facebook out of the picture?

I have been emersing myself in the recent ‘one channel‘ changes and in general I like them, but I think what has been lost is the opportunity to personalise the look and feel of the whole channel page not just the header art work (maybe that will come back).  I think there will be resistance of changing over from people who have put time and effort into creating branding on their YouTube channels.

So I was thinking what is the motivation for these changes?  Well the cross gadget element is interesting particularly watching youtube on TV.  I haven’t really been paying attention to the TV market, the evolutions feels to be more gradual than other technology markets, tablets and phones for example.  However, I recently set up my youtube account on my virginmedia box and suddenly my viewing becomes a whole lot more interesting there.  I can watch all of my own videos on there and they look and sound great but also can create playlists of my favourites from others to watch and also just search and browse. I wondered if that is a limited thing for people with cable TV services but then I saw a programme about buying bargains and the people were being coached on how to get the best price for a smart TV (which “comes with apps”) and I am thinking aha! Lightbulb moment.

My initial question for this post was is Google aiming to merge Google+ and Youtube. Well if you ask me the new channel design is looking rather similar to Google+ profile.  I have seen graphs of social medial activity implying that Google+ is overtaking facebook, but I am dubious about this claim.  I would like to see the data.  I think the data on this comes about because anyone with an Android phone or tablet needs a Google account to get the apps, so they sign up and bang they have a Google+ account.  Then they need their Google account to log on to Youtube, so anyone without an Android device, bang has a Google+ acccount.  Then people use Google maps, and Google Chrome, bla bla bla and it’s all sown up. So there may be a growth in accounts, but I don’t believe that the habits of looking at Google+ like people do on facebook have yet been established.

That brings it back to Youtube.  It doesn’t take much to make Youtube more of a social interaction place.  People already share and comment on videos there and put them on other channels.  So make that more of a habit and drag it into the TV shared viewing arena and you instantly elevate Google+ into a new realm.

I went to a seminar in Sept 2009 given by one of my colleagues at the Open University, Liam Green-Hughes, about Boxee TV.  Liam was predicting how things would be in relation to social networking TV viewing and they have panned out much the way he said but not necessarily on the Linux platform that he is a champion of. There’s a recording of that presentation but only available if you have an Open University account.  Liam also has written about these issues – blog post here: http://www.olnet.org/Boxee and his blog: http://www.greenhughes.com/content/rising-boxee-developer-challenge-open-university-app

The pace of change is so rapid it’s hard to keep up with, and I think it will continue to evolve rapidly.  I predict in less than two years there will just be one service that is a youtube-google+ meld, but it will be difficult to choose what branding to go for given that both are such well established names.

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