Want Even More Distractions? Try Google+'s Youtube Button

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 3, 2011
Updated • Mar 19, 2015
Google, Youtube

Update: The YouTube button is no longer available.

I sometimes feel the urge to check for new email messages during work. Other users may feel the same urge when it comes to checking social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus for new messages and updates. Others may not be able to resist watching that funny video that just got posted.

Sometimes I manage to stay focused, other times though my mind starts to wonder off which reduces my productivity considerably.

Google Plus, Google's social networking site, supports embedded YouTube videos. All it takes is to paste the YouTube video url and post it to the public or a list of people in your circles. That's convenient and probably one of the reasons why YouTube videos are that often posted on the site.

That apparently was not enough. Google Plus users who visit the site now may have spotted the little YouTube button located on the right sidebar of the site.

youtube button google plus

A click on the button opens the text What would you like to play in a small search form.

what would you like to play

It is basically a search form for YouTube videos. A search opens the first hit in a new (small) window on the screen. It is like the "I'm feeling lucky" feature that Google used for some time on their search engine.

The video is shown in the upper half of the screen, a playlist and now playing list in the lower half. The playlist is automatically populated with results.

youtube video window

The YouTube video player window can be minimized to play the videos in the background while you are working in the browser. It needs to be noted that this YouTube player works only if Adobe Flash is installed on the PC. Users who do not have Flash installed and who have enabled the HTML5 video beta on YouTube will see an error message even if the video plays fine on YouTube directly.

The YouTube button on the Google+ web page interestingly enough changes to a pause button when videos are playing. This makes the method more convenient than playing videos in another browser tab (because of that missing control option).

The integration of a YouTube video player on Google+ is yet another way to cross-promote Google services. Is the pause option reason enough to use the player? Negative aspects outweigh the positive ones in my opinion. This includes missing HTML5 video support and the lack of video selection controls but also the button itself which some users may see as yet another distraction on the Google Plus website.

What's your take on the YouTube button on Google Plus?


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  1. noel said on April 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    i cant find the button!! i really love it.. cmon googlers, what are you doing!!

  2. Dave said on April 12, 2012 at 3:27 am

    i’m having withdrawal symtoms now…. HELP!! i can’t find that button on G+ anymore!!! can’t work without it..!!!!

  3. Jost said on April 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Where is the button now? Can’t find it on the new interface.

  4. mawt1 said on December 10, 2011 at 7:10 am

    I so want that on my desktop! any possibilities?? I’m on mac

  5. nick said on November 5, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Flash tends to play smoother on my dual core laptop, which is about 5 years old. Html5 video plays super choppy. Why would you enable html5 video even if it played the same as flash? flash works.

  6. Klado said on November 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Friend you, what the heck does that mean?

    And how negatives outweight the positives?, I can think of Google bringing the Google Music this way, so a player right there into Google plus + Youtube… negatives outweigh the positives… can’t wait to load a list of music.

    1. gadgets said on November 5, 2011 at 4:04 am

      It simply means that, if, you are thinking too much, dude, I see Martin as a friend thats why I visit this site daily to read his blog.

  7. gadgets said on November 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Martin, are you really into Google+ now? So will you friend me on Google+ if I invite you to be my friend over there? Maybe? Yes? Or No? Don’t worry I won’t feel bad if the answer is no

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      I’m not into any social networking site. I check Google+ once a day for a minute or so, the others even less often. I do not have time for it ;)

      1. gadgets said on November 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm

        I mean ‘respect your decision’ instead of ‘your discussion’. sorry about the spelling error

      2. gadgets said on November 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm

        Alright, Martin, for what ever the reason is I will respect your discussion, this won’t effect my participate in the future blog discussion so don’t take it too serious about my previous comment. Sometimes a joke is better than a no joke at all, hope you understand that

  8. Syl said on November 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    It’s an interesting feature. It would be a lot better if I could load one of my playlist though.

  9. Beek said on November 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    If there’s one thing I like about G+, its gotta be the constant updating and addition of new features. At this pace, I could see it being in Beta for a few years like Gmail

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