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.
A click on the button opens the text What would you like to play in a small search form.
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.
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?
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.