Google tried to establish a social networking site several times in the past to complete with the almighty Facebook.
But even the company's latest endeavor in the social space, Google Plus, did not work out as planned. If you consider that Google went all in that time, forcefully integrating Google Plus in many of the company services, and pushing it on its prime properties such as Google Search, it is not far-off to call Google Plus a failure.
One of the properties graced with forceful Google Plus integration was YouTube. Google made the decision to replace YouTube's commenting system with Google Plus, angering millions of YouTube users in the process.
Google decided to abandon the Google Plus project some time ago. While it is still available, traces of Google Plus on other Google properties are slowly being removed again.
The company has not given up yet on conquering the social networking space though. Its latest plan? Use a billion user site that already exists for that.
That site is YouTube, and if reports are correct, it could soon get a lot more social on the site.
VentureBeat reports that Google may plan to introduce an internal feature called Backstage to YouTube that lets users share photos, links, text posts, videos, and polls with their subscribers.
Google may launch this as a limited trial for select YouTube accounts first and may go from there. According to VentureBeat, Backstage will be visible next to the Home and Videos tabs on YouTube, and posts made to channels will appear in subscriber feeds and notifications.
Subscribers may reply to posts through various means including posting videos of their own, but also by text or images.
Backstage will introduce new types of posts to YouTube. Google plans to differentiate between regular videos and Backstage videos. The latter allows channels to push videos only to subscribers and not to users discovering the channel through search or other means.
Backstage is an internal project currently and it is unclear if and when it will be made available. While YouTube is highly popular when it comes to video publishing and watching, it lacks in the social department. While users may post comments under videos or channels, there is little in terms of communication going elsewhere.
There is a send message option when you open the about page of a channel, but it is almost hidden from sight.
Adding more social components to YouTube, even if only for a limited number of channels and publishers in the beginning, may improve interaction on the site.
It is unclear how the move will impact Google Plus, but seeing the service being reduced to a crumble, it would not surprise me one bit if Google would announce its retirement in the near future.
As far as I'm concerned, I go to YouTube to watch videos, not to communicate. That's my personal preference though, and judging from the large number of comments on the site, others see it differently.
Now You: What's your take on this?