Google makes changes to YouTube comments: enforces Google+ account

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 7, 2013
Updated • Nov 7, 2013
Google, Youtube

If you have been to YouTube in the past 24 hour period you may have noticed a notification in the comment section on the website that provided you with information about changes to YouTube's comment system that Google made.

The announcement itself highlights the benefits or advantages of the new comment system.

You can now "see more from people you know", use the new "threaded format" and "+mentions" options that is made available, and also have your comments published not only on YouTube but also on Google+.

What Google fails to mention in the notification is that you do need Google+ to comment on YouTube. If you do not have a Google+ page yet, you need to create one first before you can post comments or reply to existing comments.

Changes to YouTube comments

changes to youtube comments

You can click on the learn more link here to find out more about the new comments implementation on the world's most popular video hosting website.

Most of the changes introduced make sense. Options to use rich text, to add urls to comments, or discussions all make sense from a usability point of view. I'd argue that the majority of YouTube users are fine with those changes.

What is causing controversy though right now is the Google+ requirement. YouTube users who want to comment on the site need to create a Google+ account / page before they can do so. This is true even if they have no intention of using Google+.

The second issue that has received its fair share of criticism is that channel owners are now able to remove comments on their channels without any indication that they have ever been placed there.

Previously, it was obvious when comments were disabled. What's likely going to happen is that at least some channel owners will use the new power to remove any negative comment about their product from their channel, and to make things even worse, block users from leaving comments in the future.

It needs to be mentioned that it is still possible to keep posting under the current YouTube name, and even to create a new name that you want displayed on YouTube while commenting.

Closing Words

Could Google have implemented an improved standalone commenting system on YouTube? Yes, it could have done so. But since the company is pushing its Google+ service at any opportunity that arises, it was only a logical consequence that it linked the commenting system to the social networking service.

Yes, some YouTube users won't like the change and will -- likely - stop commenting on the site. It is unlikely that many will stop using YouTube altogether, considering that you can access videos without the need for an account.

What's your take on the change?

Now Read: YouTube's new commenting system pushes Google+, nothing more


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  1. Bubo said on February 18, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    I have “contacts” who are total strangers and they poped-up like that in some od my “circles”, or brought me to theirs… What the heck is that system, promoting communitarianism and isolation, sects and that sort of shit, like we would as video posters restrict only friends to have discussions about the vid and such : maybe this would be nice as some additional feature, since there’s still EXCEPTIONS where such feature could be appreciated, but FORCING everything into it? Come on, especially when these “Circles of anulus” are more like circles of interests with NO “friendship” intimacy strings attached (I’m sure about this for most circles out there) : the design itself does NOT comply to the proclaimed arguments about the changes, another goal must have been set (gathering data – Google wants to own the whole World’s “intelligence” on their private servers, and be used as some « Big Brother » leverage from so-called “intelligence agencies” : their global business attitude despising their users base MUST bring the later to do all that is possible to stop them)… More over I DON’T WANT THESE CIRCLES TO AUTOMATICALLY see everything I do on Youtube… We have no real control without having to get a degree on managing Google-101… And even then, the system is AWKWARD and of very bad design, actually everything was made to push forth any data gathering from Google and « who cares about usability and the end-users »… I know I can modify parameters and such, but who cares when basically this “2.0” system is a total mess, and the default is a HUGE breach of confidentiality, much worse than any Virus on one’s computer? This Google+scam must’ve been created by people who have the mentality of living under some dictatorship, like TOTAL CONTROL-FREAKS-SHIT-DIGGER-COMMUNISTS, and as such not only this Google+ is completely useless, it’s also aggravating.

  2. Pat Dowhn said on January 1, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Fascist Google has finally revealed itself. Users be damned- Google will now dictate how its services will be used with no consideration for user complaints.
    Googles ONLY priority was to force G+ on every YT user just to get G+ numbers up to marketable levels. In the process, the comments got worse, but now you only see people you know, so it’s really just Facebook.
    I would love to see every Google exec (and their kids) die from cancer.

  3. me said on November 23, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    right…. google+ is the least of the problems.
    They are banning chrome extensions (for “Security” reasons… the fact that the new extension will work on theyr ***** OS has “nothing” to do with it) so now every developer has one or two months to solve this WITHOUT documentation, a chrome beta or anything…
    I am in doubt if Google surpass apple on the sh**ty user politics or not, because they surpass everyone else! I thins they forgot the “don’t” on they “don’t be evit” motto

  4. Master said on November 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I hate this with a passion. I will never use my channel again.

  5. Anonymous said on November 18, 2013 at 2:55 am

    The bob thing is probably the most stupidest idea to change something, probably a kid did this and raged so then he made this idea.

  6. Alison said on November 17, 2013 at 4:19 am

    Once I agreed to their requirement, I was immediately unable to use Youtube. When I tried to go to Youtube, all I could see was a white screen page with no content. I am unsure why this is or how to correct it.

    1. StopS said on November 17, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Yep, I had the same. It took me a bit of experimenting to understand, well, not understand, but to grasp what buttons I need to click.
      Google creates at least 2 accounts when you link to it. They don’t have the understanding of users, just the theory. You need to go back to Google Minus and then click on each possibility of your accounts and then just remember which is the one which contains your stuff.
      It will work eventually, just everything takes 4x the time and effort to do what took seconds when it was just YouTube.

  7. Janvic said on November 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    How come I still can’t comment on youtube when I’ve had a google+ account connected to my youtube account?

  8. Anonymous said on November 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Greed is Google.

  9. lisa said on November 13, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I have G+ from a year or two ago & don’t want to use this junk. I already have too many systems & pwords to remember as it is. Why punish those who view YouTube videos & don’t spam it with ads & profanity nonsense? This is all the more reason I may just get rid of technology all together. Some companies get the feeling they can gestapo people into signing up for your service cough *G+* cough, but I’m doubting this aggressive move will work. Look for someone else to swoop in & fix your costly blunder.

  10. b003 said on November 12, 2013 at 5:13 am

    In agreement with mostly everyone in saying I hate it too. I don’t think I’ve seen this many comments on a topic in quite a while.

  11. NK said on November 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    YouTube Hit: F U Google +

    It’s time to start looking for a replacement… After one deducts all the BS, Google is worthless.

  12. KC said on November 10, 2013 at 8:25 am


    I went to try to delete my Google+ account (because I have never used it and never will) in protest. But it will not let me delete unless I unlink it from my Youtube account (which I have had since 2006). I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do this now. It looks impossible and that every fix for this appears to have been disabled?

    Do I now have to delete my entire YT account just to get rid of the Google+ page? I do NOT want to do that! Any help appreciated.

  13. Don Gateley said on November 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    I certainly understand the backlash to the Google+ requirement but since I already use it I don’t personally mind.

    As to the actual changes, I love that they’ve added threads. That was SO necessary. I don’t understand, though, why on earth they don’t let you see comments with the oldest first. I have a lot more respect for the flow of time, I guess, than Google/YouTube has and I am also a big fan of causality.

    It can’t be about slow database access time from that direction; threading belies that. So why, I wonder, the omission of something so useful as ordering in the direction of the flow of time.

  14. StopS said on November 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Not quite so rosy.
    I am effectively shut out from interacting with anyone. Even on my own videos.
    Google has decided that my name is not a proper and accepted Google + name and have blocked my profile. This means I am unable to link to G+ and thus can’t react to others commenting or comment myself. I am unable to change settings on my channel and might as well find an alternative.

    I could lie and use a fake name to open a G+ account and then create a page with my old channel name, but that would mean losing all the videos I have as well as all subscribers and all contributions from others. I would also have to re-upload the videos along with the descriptions and tags, which would take weeks.
    Thanks, Big Brother, for watching out for me and deciding who can comment how on my videos and what comments I should care for.

  15. charlie said on November 9, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I am still very sorry that America has allowed opt-in by default rather than opt-out.

  16. fuck google+ said on November 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Dear Bing,

    Please add some form of video service without all the stupid shit like gootube to your service. This is your time to shine! Thanks!!!

  17. Filter said on November 9, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I think these changes are more sinister than anything else. Whenever I posted videos I could get a global reaction to see what everybody thought.

    If I didn’t like a comment I’d just remove them. If I removed too many comments unjustly, I’d get a load of unsubscribers. The systerm wasn’t perfect, but it was under control.

    What we have now are very intimate (aka. controlled) networks of friends that can be monitored much more easily. It’s no secret that mainstream media’s efforts have been thwarted many times with YT uploads.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I think what we have here is the internet approaching lockdown.

  18. Gregg DesElms said on November 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Good. It’s long overdue.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  19. BKA said on November 8, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    It wouldn’t be so bad if Google+ didn’t completely suck, but either way I hate being forced to use anything. This is like Microsoft ramming IE down our throats even though it was terrible. (Still is)
    Enough Google. I don’t want your POS social app.

  20. Redgrave said on November 8, 2013 at 7:20 pm
  21. BrS said on November 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    This SUCKS! I’m getting tired of Google pushing their gigantic one-size-fits-all platform onto people! People who use YouTube and comment there might not necessarily want to setup a Google+ profile or vice versa. I’m not going to comment ever again due to these changes, and many I know feel the same way. Google must learn to listen to their user base instead of forcefully shoveling people into new product platforms.

  22. SubgeniusD said on November 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I usually ignore most YT comment threads but there are some esp technical and historical vids that can include meaningful comments and back and forth conversations.

    This system reformat does not include the “view comments threaded” which is really bad. Before you could group sub-discussions now they’re just scattered randomly (by submission time) all over the place. For short threads no big deal – for long threads a deal breaker.

    I’ve given up trying to understand how otherwise smart people can so frequently miss the glaringly obvious.

    1. Viewster said on November 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      This is something I’m totally puzzled by, too! I just see scattered comments, which, depending on the number of those, are often impossible to sort out as to what they initially related before getting mixed up by that “innovative” system of “meaningful discussions”. If that stands for “go figure the meaning”, well, I’m really impressed. I hardly ever comment myself, but I often find the comments of others useful and informative, now I can’t even read those properly. I have Google+, but if the changes don’t work, it’s more serious than those changes just being unwelcome.

      1. SubgeniusD said on December 6, 2013 at 11:00 am

        They’ve finally implemented a limited threading feature for new video comments. Older video comments (more then a week old) remain jumbled – listed only by date.

  23. Whitebuck said on November 8, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Google+, problem, solution delete your channel and sign out. I did, too find an alternative or go without. Enough Google! They have crossed the line with their Corporatist Dictatorship and Forced Consumerism.

  24. John Citezen said on November 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Remember also when youtube changed it’s layout to have the right half of the page BLANK, Well this is where they can now put PERSONAL ADDS for you from invading your Privacy.

    I have been using youtube since it started.
    Now with all this Personal information database they want to make.

    They like many others are inbed with the US government.
    Goodbye and Good Riddance.

    Totally of the same view as Pangia.

    And for all those that think if you have nothing to hide then why be worried, Well why don’t you all now go to your local police station and submit your DNA evidence and Fingerprints just cause you can and have nothing to hide.

  25. Martin said on November 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Martin, some of the comments need editing or removing. If people can’t be civil and literate, Do they really have a place here? It lowers the time of all that you do so well.

    1. SubgeniusD said on November 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      You new to the internet?

  26. Miri said on November 8, 2013 at 9:13 am

    & yes, if partners and/or content creators want to comment or reply to comments *on their video pages* they can – but ONLY if they link up to Google+ per Google’s rules. so either way it forces Google+ on Youtube members who want to be active in the Youtube community.

  27. Miri said on November 8, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Google concerns about comments are just a smokescreen. why would they care? re: Google+ they’re just trying (& failing) to compete with Facebook. & they make money by selling our user data in a million different ways, mostly via trickery vs. asking us honestly & transparently without us having to wade through endless paragraphs of ‘legalese.’ they think, like with other unpopular changes, that the majority of the Youtube user base will just give in to the forced Google+ accounts. i believe this is where things will be different this time. we should NOT have to have and use a Google+ account in order to be able comment or communicate with the Youtube community.. i just saw a video showing how a channel ‘owner’/admin cannot even reply to posts on his own videos! he as to go to G+ on order to respond! &he can only do that if he keeps his Google+ & Youtube accounts linked – and uses a version of his user name Google will accept. yes, the “reply” option is there (for now) but it’s defunct, it’s just for show.

    & to “zen” : yes, Google is, of course, trying to enlarge its “webprint.” the problem is that the majority of Youtubers do NOT want to have to go to G+ to receive Youtube e-mails and in order to be able to send mails (this is next) or reply to their viewers! it’s too cumbersome to have to go to a whole other platform away from Youtube for communications. it’s absurd! would anyone appreciate having to answer their Yahoo! e-mail by having to go to their Bing account to do so (for example)? Just because Google owns Youtube now does not mean it makes it easy or desirable, these insane changes. it is the opposite of desirable and as the petition is already showing, this is not just about a few people being people upset: .

    this is making it difficult and painful not only for ‘regular’ content creators but also Youtube partners. many of them are very bothered as they are losing the ability to easily communicate with their viewers/fans/customers as well. i just pray some tech savvy people are getting together to help create a worthy Youtube alternative. i’m already contemplating deleting all of my G-mail accounts & never using/participating in Youtube again. the only reason i would not (yet) delete ‘my’ Youtube accounts is because the videos uploaded to them seem to have been helpful to many viewers. but me logging in again might not happen if Google does not do the right thing and reconsider their ice cold changes and tactics. in days past it appeared the company understood and lived the concept of a ‘win-win’ community – but now? the executives seem to have acquired a convenient form of corporate amnesia.

  28. Redgrave said on November 8, 2013 at 8:02 am

    The whole ‘linking’ looks stupid especially knowing it’s a forced pair just so they can promote their social network.

    One of the features that got lost is the ‘top comments’ which are now somehow the latest. They’re not even on Youtube anymore, you just have to witness what everyone posts on their G+ profile, like I care what everyone has to say to their followers, since mostly people post unrelated to the video comments.

    The whole thing is a downgrade, not a better user experience.

  29. zen said on November 8, 2013 at 7:39 am

    isn’t google just trying to enlarge it’s webprint to better compete with facebook and twitter?

  30. Asadal said on November 8, 2013 at 2:07 am

    Just switch to alternative video sharing services like Dailymotion, Vimeo, Youku (all uploaded videos there must comply with the laws of the People’s Republic of China), etc. With this update, the video uploader is the DICTATOR when it comes to the said video’s comments.

  31. Triv said on November 8, 2013 at 12:31 am

    No, I’m not going to be forced into google+. Go to hell google!

  32. Nick said on November 7, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Google will do what it wants because it has all the taxpayer money at its disposal (NSA connection). Anyway, it’s just another conditioning tool for the masses. If another video site comes out with no interference on comments, they bury Youtube and Google.

  33. RyansG1rl02 said on November 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I feel that Google are nothing but a bunch of Bullies! Forcing this google+ profile Rubbish on us youtube users! I for one do not use google+ and i have intention of ever doing so. And wish google would listen to us users and put back to how it was, as it was 100 percent better the old way of commenting!!!

  34. Julia said on November 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Certainly NO Google + for me. NO thanks. Stop bugging me, Google…

  35. Uhtred said on November 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I don’t like where google seem to be heading with their “joined up” thinking. If the product on offer was good enough, they wouldn’t need to force users, users would be choosing to use it.

    Anonymity. I’m for it, individuals should be able to choose to keep their private lives private.

  36. Cleverbot said on November 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Remember when it was cool to have a Gmail account, to score an invite?
    Those were the days…

    “Google is beta-testing a program that tracks users’ purchasing habits by registering brick-and-mortar store visits via smartphones” BusinessInsider, Nov. 07, 2013

    Any questions?

  37. bigd said on November 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    i agree 100% with pangia and anonymous, i will still post the same comments if i have to use my real name it will make no difference but the point is i shouldnt fucking have too.

  38. Frik off said on November 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I tried to correct an error in a science video that will probably lead students to make errors on a test. But NO..Google, who has already stated in legal filings that their users have no reasonable expectation of privacy, insisted on creating a Google + account. NO THANKS. So no comment. Google is EVIL, Google colludes with the government in allowing unfettered access to user accounts. You will never change this unless there is a boycott.

  39. Virtualguy said on November 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I refuse to activate a Google+ account. It is being shoved in my face every time I turn around. Google is ramming this down people’s throats like nothing ever seen before. I don’t have any problem with the effort to increase civility in the comments. I believe that would be a good thing for everyone, including Pangia. :-) But, it seems that Google’s goal is to eliminate anonymity on the Web in the name of profit. Their profit, not yours.

    F*ck you, Google. I’m having none of it.

  40. Rio said on November 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Why don’t they try to fix they’re overwhelming population of comment scamers first?

  41. Maou said on November 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    That´s strange because they forced me to make a Google + account long time ago to be able to post comments on youtube.
    Only now it´s forced for everyone?

  42. Robert said on November 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    @Pangia, that is exactly I how I feel.

  43. Pangia said on November 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Dumb fu♥ks. I had a channel for last 5 years only to make fu♥king comments and these retarded idiots had to screw this up. It’s unbelievable how these morons are unsuccessfully trying to push all their shit into net. Even installers for some antiviruses ask you to install their shitty Chrome browser. They were fu♥king for last 6 months with dumb asking if I want to change my nick to real name. NO, I DO NOT FUCKING WANT TO DO THIS, THAT’S WHY I HAVE NICKNAME SO PEOPLE WON’T KNOW WHAT IS MY REAL NAME. And now this Plus shit. Argh. Why they just couldn’t keep YT back from even 2008, not to mention older versions. Just to screw everything up without bothering about users.

    1. googlesucks said on January 20, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      If someone doesn’t like the negative comments on youtube, THEN THEY SHOULD MOVE ON. We all know there are a lot of idiots making comments on youtube, calling everyone and everything as a–hole. So what? Google doesn’t give a shi-t about negative comments. Google trades in personal information, and personal information linked to a real name is gold, so getting real names is what google is all about. and Huffington post, and mark zuckerwhatever Big Brother from Hell.

    2. Abbs said on November 15, 2013 at 5:19 am

      AGREE 10000000000000%, Pangia. Google+ is fucking up EVERYTHING on the internet. I’m at the point that I’m going to start using another browser and say “FUCK OFF” to anything Chrome-related. I hate the whole “big brother” attitude that requires you to basically give out all of your private info just to post on their shit sites. I’m done with Google & YouTube. I’m sick of their Nazi bullshit. If I didn’t want to remain anonymous, I’d post my freakin’ name. Shit like this is what is totally effing up the internet in general.

      1. 74revolution74 said on January 9, 2014 at 6:44 pm

        Google has turned into a maximum type Concentration. Camp for the internet.

    3. Vato said on November 12, 2013 at 1:47 am


    4. guds said on November 11, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      The reason why google shit + is enforcing this shit upon us, is to sell more advertisement.
      More user active or inactive doesn’t matter, more user more money.

    5. bigd said on November 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      i totally agree pangia the same thing kept happening to me, a pop up saying use my real name no i dont fucking want too, i want to remain anonymous its my RIGHT TOO, anyone taking youtube comments to heart NEED TO GET A FUCKING GRIP

      1. Mike Corbeil said on November 9, 2013 at 5:30 am

        There’re plenty of serious comments at YouTube. The problem is that there’re many abusers, as well as many comments that’re only immature, juvenile, say. There’re channel owners posting videos on interesting topics that are neither politically nor socially “sensitive” and where abusive as well as immature comments are either non-existant or extremely rare. These can be videos about agriculture and gardening, home crafts, technology, or for academic courses, like in computer science, f.e. There’re other examples, but people just have to discover them.

        It’s very annoying that there’s a lot of pollution with the flood, say, of garbage comments at YouTube, but a person can find plenty that’s good; including in comments sections.

    6. Coyote said on November 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      @Pangia, no offence… but comments like yours are exactly what they are trying to do away with. By linking your real name it will encourage people to show a little restraint and hopefully some civility in the comments.

      1. anonymity is a right said on November 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

        Then, why you use “coyote” nickname and not your real name?!?

      2. bob said on November 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm

        Can’t hear you with your mouth full.

      3. Sam Wheeler said on November 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm

        Here is little restraint, Coyote. My name is Sam Wheeler, and fuck google’s ploy to exploit the youtube community in order to push its google plus product on us. It’s absolute bullshit. Shit comments are already taken care of by voting down, and reporting.

      4. Andrew Wigglesworth said on November 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm

        They also force you into their tracking and spying network.

        Now you have to accept all their tracking software etc onto your computer before you can even see the comments.

        That’s the one and only reason for all this. We have no control over the platform so they try to enforce their spying network upon our computers.

        We really need to get away from this centralisation and control and start helping to develop things like Freedombox.

      5. Martin Brinkmann said on November 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

        As I pointed out in another article, it is too easy to create fake accounts or have them created for you. It may prevent some users from leaving comments, but others will continue just like before. Plus, you do not have to use your real name to comment.

      6. Anonymous said on November 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        @Coyote i don’t believe that is true i see real names on stories everyday on the internet making questionable comments.

    7. Anonymous said on November 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Yaaaay for you, Pangia. I agree completely. The way things are going, we soon won’t have internet access at all without a Google+ account. Kinda makes one wonder why that is . . .

      What happened to free internet?

  44. Coyote said on November 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I see this as a double edged sword. For one, the comments on youtube have been a cesspool bordering on 4chan /b levels of retardedness. If this cuts that out it would be a fantastic move. But on the other hand it could pull some of that over to the G+ accounts and could degrade the whole service.

    I agree totally about the comment moderation changes though, no account should be able to “clean” their comments of anything they decide is negative, perhaps a flag of some sorts would have been better. An offending comment could be flagged by the channel owner and hidden until some higher form of moderation could be done. But the comment should remain on the site and just be hidden or grayed out like some other social media sites do. Other commenters could vote on those comments to bring them back perhaps. I see a major abuse of comments happening by just giving the channel owner full control.

  45. Robert said on November 7, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I HATE this Google+ it seems to be forced down my throat whether I want it or not.
    No matter what I do where I go it wants me to do something with Google+. Looks like I will be doing less and less commenting.

  46. Jim said on November 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    They certainly are pushing Google+ every chance they get. It’s forcing more people to have accounts even though they may not use it. It’s not a big deal to me since I don’t make comments on YouTube anyway. I generally try to avoid the site. It’s a horrific time-waster.

  47. nihir said on November 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Hey, just a quick heads up, it looks like you missed the “h” in your title.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks, corrected.

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