After Google’s YouTube takeover in 2006, the personal video website has been undergoing a seemingly endless amount of modifications that have often been more than a little inconvenient, but the recent Fall 2013 changes in particular have YouTube users in a frenzy.
In 2011, Google changed the sign-in process so that users must log into their Gmail accounts in order to access their full privileges on YouTube. This included commenting on and liking videos. It became the first step in YouTube’s transformation from an independent website to a Google subset.
This change alone caused many problems for YouTube users who did not have Gmail accounts or no longer had the password to the Google account associated with their YouTube username. Despite this issue, Google did not change the policy.
An unconnected Gmail account could not be signed in while simultaneously being signed into YouTube, either. Users who wished to continue to be part of the YouTube community had to adapt to this policy, and they managed it.
Last August, Google also made a move to block all Microsoft windows phones from downloading and using the YouTube app, forcing Windows phone users who want to access the website to do so straight from an internet browser. On this, Google spokesmen stated that Microsoft neglected to make appropriate changes in software to accommodate the new app, and instead released their own that violated Google’s terms of service.
Many design changes developed thereafter, but none were substantial enough to cause a stir, until the end of last September. Now, YouTube users can only access full website privileges if they have a Google plus account. The comment sections on all videos have been grouped into clusters of conversations, making it difficult to scroll through individual comments.
The system, however efficient it may have been intended to be, has many glitches. For example, the reply button is missing on several comments, causing the option to respond to other users to disappear.
The website also now opens a new window for each hidden comment clicked, creating eight or nine windows in order to follow a simple conversation.
There have been some perks that came from this update. Clickable links can be posted in comments and users can now create the hashtags that have taken over all online social networks. These improvements, however, have far from appeased the inconvenienced YouTubers.
For the first time in eight years, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim has spoken out against Google’s updates to the website. Instead of uploading a video, Karim merely posted a passive aggressive question to his personal account:
“Why the **** do I need a Google+ account to comment on a video?”
Many other, more hostile, comments and videos have been posted on the subject. The anger of the YouTube community has reached a point where users have actually created petitions to get Google to revert to the old design.
Google has yet to respond to any of these, but judging by how Google has handled protests to changes before, YouTube users may have no choice but to get used to it.