Is Google adding social to YouTube?


A recent article by VentureBeat has fuelled speculation that Google is about to re-enter the social media space, via YouTube.

With a project internally known as Backstage, Google is planning to allow users to add text, photos and polls to YouTube. VentureBeat adds that Backstage is expected to launch by the end of the year on mobile and desktop, “initially with select popular YouTube accounts and with limited features”.

Why, exactly? Google’s concern, according to VentureBeat, is in losing out to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat when users ask YouTube fans to subscribe to these platforms for updates. And with Google+ having gone the way of Orkut, Wave, and Buzz, a different approach is needed. So, rather than try to attract users to a new social media platform, Google is making social media features available to its billion-plus YouTube users.

Why should you care?

Asked for comment on the VentureBeat report, a Google spokesperson replied that “we don’t comment on rumour or speculation.”

We don’t usually follow the “where there’s smoke there’s fire” principle in choosing which stories to cover each week, preferring instead to update you on news stories that have been announced and confirmed. But, following Facebook’s overwhelming success with video, we think it highly likely that there’s substance to the speculation. However, only once the details have been confirmed and made public will the implications for businesses with a YouTube presence be known.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.