Google wants to try messaging now on YouTube?
Oh hell, why not? Nearly all the major social platforms have messaging features. So many points of entry. So little time.
But that hasn’t stopped Google from amplifying the already crowded text back-and-forth ecosystem by its test of a new messaging feature last week for Canadian YouTube app users.
“A few months ago, we began experimenting with better ways to share on YouTube, starting with a small group of users,” explains Google’s Canada blog. “And now Canada is the first country to roll out this new YouTube sharing feature. Why Canada? Well, it turns out that Canadians are world leaders when it comes to sharing. On our mobile devices, Canadians share videos 15% more often than other global users.”
You know, it’s cold in Canada. Too rugged to go outside and play.
From the YouTube mobile app, Canadian users with their own channel now see a “Shared” tab with which they can add friends and family and share videos while also chatting about them. It’s a good concept, superficially, and if the Canadian test goes well we can surely expect to see the feature spread to U.S. users and around the world.
Google is no stranger to messaging, of course. Google Hangouts was (is?) a good messaging (and video calling) app before messaging was all the rage and, of course, Google launched its stand-alone messaging app, Allo, back in September. (Wait…what? Allo? Yea, exactly.)
But the thing of it is millions of YouTubers are already chatting with friends about videos – just in other messaging apps. And Google knows this.
According to GlobalWebIndex, over half of the messaging YouTubers are already chatting away about videos on Messenger or WhatsApp, both Facebook properties. Another 25 percent are chatting about videos on Snapchat.
“And these figures rise even higher among the key 16-24 demographic,” says GWI. “That said, with the average YouTuber using 2.5 different chat apps each month, this audience is clearly happy to have accounts across a range of different platforms. Plus, it won’t be too difficult for users to establish a network of friends given YouTube’s substantial reach.”
We’ll see. People get used to certain online features and tend to stick with them. At least until the next bright, shiny object peaks curiosity.
It should be a big weekend for YouTube. A big American football game – the Super Bowl – is set for Sunday and Google insists YouTube viewership increases dramatically around the annual championship of professional American football.
“Football-related watch time on YouTube has grown over 90% year over year,” insists Google, as it points to three football related video trends connected directly to the Super Bowl:
Fashion and beauty videos (not making this up): a 60 percent spike.
Football related recipes for tailgating or the living room: a 75 percent year over year growth rate.
Football fantasy leagues: 80 percent growth rate, year over year.
“Football culture on YouTube runs deeper than game highlights and replays,” insists Google. “And it lives beyond (and before) game day itself. The growth in football-related watch time proves that viewers are eager to engage in football-related content.”
GooglePlus updates, too!
Just as Google increases its footprint in messaging it hasn’t given up on Google+, either.
Yea, we know what you’re thinking. But Google+ remains an important social network (Hello? It’s Google.)
It updated the network last week in three ways:
“We’re making it easier to have good conversations by hiding lower quality comments on posts, so you can focus on the comments that matter most.” said Google. “If you’d like to see all the comments on a post, you can always click or tap ‘View more comments.’”
It also adjusted the display of Google+.
“To help you see more of the stuff you care about, we’ve adjusted Google+ to make the best use of your screen size and show you less white space and more posts,” said the internet overlord. “Photographers share big, beautiful images on Google+ every day, so we’ve also added zoom functionality to photos on Google+ web to let you get up close and personal with the images you’re interested in.”
Finally – and perhaps most importantly – Google+ is bringing back its Events feature. (Google is no doubt taking notice of how successful for users is Facebook’s events feature.)
“While there’s more to be done to improve the experience, beginning January 24th you’ll be able to create and join events on Google+ web as you have in the past,” said Google. “Just because we’re bidding adieu to classic Google+ doesn’t mean we’re done working on the new one. Our aim is to make Google+ the best place to connect around the things you care about.”
Hum, yea, just like with messaging within YouTube: we’ll see….