Google is making a huge and annoying mistake.

I like Google Plus. Some of the smartest people I've ever read are on Google Plus, and the Hangout is amazing.

But Google is doing everything it can to force Google Plus on everyone, and it's pissing me off.

Yesterday, I tried to like a video on YouTube. I wasn't signed in to my Google Plus account, and this is what I saw:

What_the_fuck_google
Where the thumbs up and thumbs down used to be, there is now a big G+ Like button. When you go anywhere near it, you get a little popup that tells you to "upgrade to Google plus" for some reason that I don't remember, because the instant I saw it, I made a rageface.

Here's what I wrote on Tumblr:

Oh, go fuck 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 fucking social network they don’t want or need.

I am adding now: Those upvotes are incredibly important to us, because we need them to earn another season of our show.

I'm even more grateful now than I was yesterday that we own the IP for Tabletop, because we can produce it ourselves, or crowdfund with Kickstarter, or something like that, if Google keeps doing things like this that will negatively affect how users can interact with us on YouTube.

I was reblogged by Neil Gaiman, who added:

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.

John Green also reblogged me, and he said:

I strongly agree with this. Making it so that only google plus users can decide whether a YouTube video is worth watching benefits no one except for Google Plus: It is bad for viewers, bad for video creators, and bad for YouTube’s ability to curate and tailor videos to potential viewers.

By crippling functionality on sites Google owns (like YouTube) and forcing users to "upgrade" to a service that they may not want or need to get that functionality back, Google is making a huge and annoying mistake. You get people to enthusiastically use services by making them compelling and awesome and easy to use. You don't get people to enthusiastically use your services by forcing them to. In fact, that's probably a great way to ensure that a huge number of people who may have been interested in trying out your service never even look at it.

112 thoughts on “Google is making a huge and annoying mistake.”

  1. Google is trying to save face. When they came out with Google +, they made it seem like they invented social media. People laughed at them and said that Google + was no Facebook and never would be. Hardly anyone uses Google + because not only is it horrible, but it’s a waste of time. So now they’re forcing people to use it. Can they get any more desperate?

  2. Nothing to see here. Google is constantly running A/B experiments. 99.99% get the real version. 0.01% get a test version. It’s not even a beta test of a future version. It’s just a data collection thing. “If we arrange things like so, do people have an easier time finding what they want?”
    Wheaton apparently got one of these 0.01% experiments, and instead of asking if anyone else noticed the same thing, he instead decided to make a very public posting about how Google had wronged him.
    Also, G+ is not what people think it is. G+ is an effort to unify all the Google services so that they can interoperate with each other. There also happens to be a central sharing site that people refer to as G+, since it is a hub to viewing all the sharing activity, but G+ is a much larger effort than social. If you want Google to treat all of your services as separate accounts, then just create a separate Google account for each one. It’s really that simple.

  3. I checked out Tabletop and the option to thumbs up/down was there…I even logged off Goggle first to be sure it was right. Maybe, like someone mentioned earlier, they listened to you. Or, they just haven’t gotten to your channel for the conversion.
    P.S. I love how you stand up for what you feel is an injustice. If everyone did that, there could be a lot less wrong with our world today.

  4. “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.”
    Man, ain’t that the truth. This is why I was totally opposed to Google riding the bandwagon of search… of e-mail… of smartphones… of internet video… Wait. Google has never done anything except ride bandwagons.

  5. I disagree, Wil Wheaton. And I’d point out that a preference for the Like and Dislike buttons is in conflict with your motto, “Don’t be a dick.” The dislike button’s sole function was to be just that. And the Like button was so seldom used, in proportion to total views, that it was useless. I’m glad to see them die.
    I’ve seen hordes of trolls attack perfectly nice videos for no reason but to cause the creator grief. I’ve seen Dislikes pile up on live streams that were queued up but hadn’t even started yet.
    The vast majority of people who watch videos and like them can’t be bothered to have the courtesy to say so.
    YouTube is part of Google now, and those of us who use Google to share quality content with others want a reasonable way to do so without being hassled by trolls. … JMHO.
    BTW, I’m watching the latest Eureka and loving it! You rock on BBT too!

  6. I’m a big google+ fan, and really like there being buttons on the web so I can send something neat right to my google+ page for friends to see.
    Google+ keeps telling me to follow you on there, forcing you on me but I’m just happy reading your blog :)

  7. Errantpixel wrote:”Always remember, if you’re not paying for it — you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”
    Remember, if you’re paying for it, you’re still the product. It’s irrelevant whether you pay or not; most companies will use what they can to extract revenue.
    In fact, if you’re paying for it, you’re an even more important product to sell, because they have your validated billing information.

  8. We watch the Geek and Sundry shows through the blu-ray’s YouTube channel, so we can enjoy them as a family in a comfortable seating arrangement (instead of being huddled around a monitor).
    I don’t think there’s a way to thumb up through the channel. Or, at least, I’ve never noticed an option.
    If you are relying on these ‘likes’ in order to get a second season, is there a way to do that through the channel, or is just getting watched through a channel considered a ‘like’?

  9. I don’t know. Whether you like it or not, you can always tell the author via comments, which are much more useful than any thumbs up or down.
    Seems like a pretty ridiculous response for an icon.

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