How to merge an existing Google+ page and Youtube Channel

The continued integration of various Google services with Google+ has generally been a positive move for both Google and businesses who can now access pages, page insights, analytics etc all in one place. But it does create an issue if you have existing Google+ pages and Youtube channels assigned to different registration emails, or if you accidentally create duplicates.

Fortunately, the process to merge an existing Google+ page and Youtube channel isn’t as difficult as it once was.

 

Google+_Youtube_Merge

We’ve merged G+ and Youtube profiles for our own sites and clients

Disconnecting a Google+ page and merging an existing page with Youtube:

The first step is to make a note of the email address and Google account which your Youtube channel is setup up with.

1. Make sure that the existing Youtube account is added as a Manager to your Google+ page (Which is done under the Managers section of your Page Settings)

2. If a duplicate or alternate page has been created by mistake via Youtube, you’ll need to disconnect that Google+ presence by clicking on Disconnect in Youtube Settings, in the Name section.

3. Google will take around 20 minutes to proceed through the disconnection process. It’s a good time to get a drink and relax!

4. Now go back into Youtube Settings, and click on Advanced. You should then have the option to link the Youtube account to a Google+ Page. Click on that link and you should be able to select the correct page.

5. Once that’s done, you should be able to click on Edit to be sent to the Page where you can click on Posts etc to check it’s the correct one.

6. Once that’s all done, you can then go into Google+ with your original Youtube account and remove the Page created in error.

You’ll now have the benefits of a linked account, including access to a Youtube tab on your page, Hangouts etc. If you get stuck, there is a Google+ community dedicated to Youtube integration.

2013 Reviews of the Year

As 2013 draws to an end, almost everyone is busy either compiling their reviews of the past 12 months, or publishing predictions and trends for 2014.

Predicting the future is always difficult, even when you spend your life watching an industry closely – it’s easy to get caught up in enthusiasm and shorten the timeline that you might have logically thought, and there are always external factors and events which we don’t know about yet which could mix things up a bit more…

Annual reviews can also lead to an overwhelming amount of information and data, but there’s often inspiration to be found, so we’ve compiled some of the 2013 reviews from the big internet names to share:

 

Tumblr 2013 Year in Review:

Tumblr2013YearinReview

Tumblr has released a big categorised review, including everything from New and Top blogs, to the most popular in Movies, Music, and even Sponsored Posts. Plenty of inspiration and enjoyment to be had, particularly if you’re a fan on animated Gifs.

 

Pinterest: Top Pins of 2013:

Pinterest2013TopPins

Staying with categorised imagery, Pinterest has also released a ‘top pins’ for 2013, separated in categories such as Home Decor, Art, Design and by country ( UK, France, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland).

 

Google: Zeitgeist 2013:

GoogleYearinReview2013

As always, Google has produced a range of videos and data to cover the top searches in 2013. Exploring the data via Google Trends is a bit more useful from a business perspective.

 

Bing: Review of the Year 2013:

BingReviewoftheyear

Bing has released the 2013 top searches etc in a more traditional article style via MSN news. Strangely they released the url bingtrends.com which redirects to MSN news for the UK. Either way, the information is there.

 

Facebook: Stories 2013

FacebookStories

Facebook Stories 2013 includes video and the Most Talked About Topics etc near you, as well as personal Year in Review features. Also available in text format for global and US information.

 

Reddit Top Posts and Stats of 2013:

redditlogo

When you start a look back at 2013 with 56 billion pageviews, 731 million unique visitors and 404,603,286 comments, it’s not been a bad 2013 for Reddit. Also includes top countries, top posts, and highlights from the End of Year awards.

 

Slideshare Zeitgeist:

 

 

Instagram has released blog posts covering 2013 Top Moments, and 2013 Top Locations.

And with a day to go, the most popular articles on TheWayoftheWeb.net in 2013 were:

Google+ adds embedding for posts

Joining Facebook and Twitter with easier ways to share Google+ content, you can now embed any Public Post made on Google’s social network by selecting the Embed option from the drop-down on every post.

The embed code can then be put onto any website, and will look and function just like it would on Google+, including the ability to follow the author, +1 a post, add comments and read them etc.

Google+ Embedding Posts

There are more details available for developers, including loading the JavaScript asynchronously to improve page load times, explicit rendering and loading etc.

In addition, Google has also integrated Google+ Sign-In’s with Google’s Authorship program, which means that if you sign in with WordPress.com and TypePad, you’ll automatically have your articles associated with your profile. It’s coming to a number of other sites in the future.

Is Feedburner about to be closed by Google?

The risk of relying on free third party services to build your your internet business is that they’re always subject to change and closure at any time – and as a non-paying customer, it gives you little to stand on. It’s particularly worrying in some areas, where companies of the size and scale of Google have effectively closed out the market, particularly in terms of RSS syndication with Feedburner and RSS reading with Google Reader.

We’ve already seen negative changes to Google Reader forced on users as Google sacrificed it to try and jumpstart Google+.

And now there’s some worrying signs about Feedburner, spotted by good friend Julius Solaris, who runs the Event Manager Blog.

 

What’s happening to Feedburner?

Having used Feedburner for years, it appears little positive has happened since acquisition by Google, and largely the service for syndicating and placing advertising in RSS feeds has been left running, but little more. Given the relative Adsense performance for the sites I’ve seen using RSS advertising, it doesn’t deliver the same kind of revenue as the formats available for website advertising, but given the scale of it as one of the main syndication/advertising tools for RSS, you have to imagine that it’s profitable given the lack of positive investment.

But today two things have happened. The Google Adsense for Feeds Blog has announced it has closed;

‘After some consideration, we recognize that we’re just not generating enough content here to warrant your time, so we won’t be posting here any longer.’

Which is true, given the last prior post was in October, 2010.

But also the @Feedburner Twitter account is being closed from today as well. The Feedburner API was already deprecated and is due to close in October, 2012.

Now this may be a sensible logistic move to integrate RSS syndication into another Google product line and possibly could be a positive if it becomes an integral part of something like Google Adsense to ensure the Feedburner functionality lives on in something which gets more support and investment.

Or it may be a far more worrying move to deprecate and close Feedburner.

The worst part is that Google is shuttering the communication channels regarding Feedburner without making it clear either way, which leaves a lot of people potential sat wondering what will happening with their RSS feeds and advertising in the future.

 

Feedburner Alternatives?

There are some alternatives out there to Feedburner. Julius has already pointed out FeedBlitz, which I’ve looked at in the past but never got around to trialling. It offers similar services, and claims more reliable statistics than Feedburner (Which isn’t difficult as they’ve always been notoriously flakey and prone to manipulation). It’s also a paid service, but you only pay for Email subscribers rather than RSS subscribers, so worth investigating.

If you have any other alternatives to mention or recommend, hit the comments below and I’ll add them into the post.

 

Trust in Google?

I don’t subscribe to the fact that Google as a business has to act like a benevolent figure to the internet by providing free services indefinitely at a cost to their business. The ‘Do No Evil’ mantra is nice enough, but businesses have to make money to survive and it’s been sacrificed in the past in order to access new markets such as China.

And if they’ve decided they can’t make enough revenue from Feedburner to continue supporting it, then that’s fair enough – if only they’d announce a clear message on what the future is so that millions of bloggers can make a rational decision.

But I do think Google is continually dropping the ball at the moment regarding their services, particularly those previously available for free. For every good thing they do for the internet as a whole, they seem to counter it with a lack of information and foresight in changing and closing services which a significant proportion of people rely on – especially those more technology-obsessed, and despite being a numerical minority, the old 90:9:1 rule of engagement reminds us that the tech-savvy bloggers etc are the most vocal online.

Google has built a business on providing many free tools to build scale, whether it’s Google Anlytics, or acquisitions such as Blogger and Feedburner, which provided easier ways for us to create inventory for Google Adsense to fill. And now it appears they’re increasingly scaling back on those areas.

The outcome for me is that I’m going to be investing more time to wean myself away from Google tools in many areas. In some cases, free open source solutions are available for me to roll my own alternatives, and in others, it means paying for things which have previously been free.

The end result is that the number of self-publishers may drop – if you’re starting to pay for more elements of self-publishing a website or blog, suddenly it has to make more money to be financially viable. No more leaving old sites around to pick up a few pennies a month.

That may be a benefit for ordinary people – as great as the self-publishing revolution has been, it means that those who continue to work on their own websites will need to put in more time and effort to create a more polished experience and make enough revenue, and there will be less half-finished sites kicking around.

But it also has a cost to Google – less publishers means less inventory, and therefore less Adsense revenue. And by losing the long tail, they’ll lose a lot of people generating small revenues which add to a significant amount, even for a company of the size of Google.

 

Update:

Dave Winer, the pioneer of RSS has kindly referenced this post and provided two important tips in case Feedburner is due to close – 1 tip for how Google can help, and 1 tip for what we can do to prepare for any problems.   I’d recommend following his writing on a daily basis if you don’t already.

Your thoughts on how Google+ is perceived?

Just a quick post as I’ve spent most of Fathers Day with my son and watching the British round of the MotoGP series, but two recent stories about Google+ have caught my eye, and neither of them are about new features Google is trying to cram into its social network to force it to become popular.

The first is that the Financial Times has reached 1 million followers, having led the figures for UK newspapers for a while now. (Hat tip Neville Hobson)

The second is that major social gaming companies are actively pulling their games from Google+, such as the Electronic Arts-owned Popcap, and their Bejeweled Blitz, which has been massively successful on all other platforms. (via Techrunch).

 

What this may mean for Google+

I’ve written a lot before about how companies greatly over-estimate the control they can have over their brand and how it is perceived. You can certainly influence it in the way it is created, and the way your company acts, but eventually it comes down to people perceive it.

The fact that business news is popular on Google+, social gaming is somewhat stagnant, and the fact my own active circles are mainly either Google employees or the SEOs that are using the value of a search-engine-owned social network makes me think that Google has ended up creating a network that sits between the features of Facebook and the focus of LinkedIn.

Maybe it’s a continuation of the social business focus of previous attempts such as Google Wave or the usage of Google Buzz?

The questions I have are whether anyone shares my opinions, and also, could this have been Google’s intention? After all, we’ve seen social tools adopted in the enterprise that have come from personal user adoption and those champions spreading the word – I’ve thinking of those people who introduced their company to Basecamp or Yammer.

Do you think success for Google+ is a long-term change to business, cloaked in a short-term attempt at the mass-market, or is that too small a prize for a company of the size and revenue of Google?

Is Google becoming evil?

Given the high standards Google set for itself with the aims of indexing the world’s information, and the mantra of ‘Don’t Be Evil’, it’s likely we hold it to higher standards than most companies. After all, in 2004, Joel Bakan described corporations in this way ‘As a psychopathic creature, the corporation can neither recognise nor act upon moral reasons to refrain from harming others. Nothing it its legal makeup limits what it can do to others in pursuit of its selfish ends, and it is compelled to cause harm when the benefits of doing so outweight the costs’.

Now whether or not Google is becoming evil, there are certainly much worse offenders around the world, but given the lofty ideals and the integral part that has played in the Google brand, any start down the slope to the activities of the traditional corporation could be damaging. You might somewhat expect it of Microsoft, or ignore it if you’re a member of the Cult of Apple, but when Google acts in ways which particularly hurt small businesses, publishers and potentially vulnerable individuals, it’s particularly jarring.

Google Logo in Building43

 

‘Secure search’:

The right of an individual to online privacy and security is a good thing, and difficult to argue against. The use of https by sites is a positive step and one that shouldn’t be discouraged.

But recently Google made an announcement that Google Analytics would no longer provide keyword information for users who are logged into their Google profile and using secure search. That move was done with the stated aim of privacy and currently a relatively small percentage of users are searching via the secure connection.

Two problems with that – already many people are reporting significant and growing numbers who are now hidden in terms of keyword data, and secondly, having had access to that data for years, it does not indicate in any way, shape or form who was using a specific keyword and therefore affect privacy. All I knew was that 20% of people visiting in the last month typed in ‘thewayoftheweb’ into a Google search box, regardless of whether they were secure or not, and no further information was available.

But hang on – if it really doesn’t matter to individual user privacy, could it be related to the launch of a paid Google Analytics for enterprise with a hefty price? After all, if you’re paying $150,000 for Google Analytics Premium, you’d be expecting all information.

So Google moves in a traditionally corporate way, using a freemium model to gain market share, then starting to remove features from the free version and concentrate on getting the top percentage of big users to start paying.

The people who lose out are small business and publishers, who won’t know how an increasing number of visitors are finding their site, and that number will only increase with more people staying logged into Gmail and Google+. After all, no-one can optimise for searches they don’t know are happening – although I’m not sure if the privacy still applies when I click-through on Google Adsense or Adwords advertising next to the search results, regardless of my connection.

 

‘Anti-social Google Reader’

There’s been a pretty big uproar regarding the redesign and loss of features which has been rolled out to Google Reader, despite the paltry week’s notice given to users. My concerns regarding the actual design are fairly minor, as it makes it slightly more difficult to use, but I can cope.

What’s difficult to reconcile is the loss of various features which are obviously and explicitly an attempt to shoehorn users into more activity on Google+, which have a number of negative effects for individuals and businesses.

  • Individuals can no longer have a basic sharing and following network within Google Reader. As opposed to the thousands of connections I had on social networks, there was a small group of around 30 or so I followed on Google Reader, simply because I was intently interested in seeing what they deemed worthy of curating and sharing on a tight subject list, without necessarily interacting with them about their holiday photos. And as with Twitter, it was asynchronous sharing – they didn’t have to know me or approve me, or figure out what I want then create a Google+ circle on that premise.  But worse is the claim that many users in more repressive countries were using Google Reader as social networks were blocked, and had connections of several thousand in many cases. That’s entirely lost now.
  • Business revenue is affected: Via RSS, and Google’s own acquisition of Feedburner, a business could display advertising in their RSS feed. In addition to losing control of sharing a full or partial RSS feed, the snippets shared to Google+ also conveniently remove any feed advertising – Google may lose their share of that revenue, but also completely control Google+ and any monetization that happens.
  • RSS is under threat: Consumer adoption of RSS has remained relatively small, but concentrated towards heavy and earl-adopting technology users. And of that group, Reader had a market share of about 70%, crushing most competitors and removing incentives to innovate in that area. If Google has decided RSS is redundant, what will happen to the popular Feedburner RSS service which powers many, many blogs RSS feeds? The analytics side of Feedburner has been pretty much permanently broken, but it still provides a simple and easy way to set up a feed which is compatible with numerous other places and services.
    In addition, for business use, it’s been possible to take the feed of Google Reader shared items, or utilise the unofficial Google Reader API to separate out tags to put onto business intranets or publish externally. Given that shared items is gone (Including my own 16,000+ articles over 5 years), what faith can you have in an unofficial API to support paying clients?

 

 WTF Google?

I’m certainly not against businesses making money – I’d like my own to keep earning more in the future, and my expertise is more directed towards the content and marketing side of business operations. It’s entirely possible that in such a large organisation it may just be coincidental that various changes all suggest a new self-interest which has happened just as a founder resumes control of the company and indicates more of a focus on their new social business.
I’m also enthusiastic about experimentation and change – the fact that Google Buzz and Google Wave have both been deemed failed experiments doesn’t negate the important experience and influence they may have had both within Google and externally.

But I do question whether the current focus on Google+ is causing the big G to lose some of what has made it so immensely popular and powerful. Whether that’s the influence of the success of Facebook as a walled garden which uses elements of coercion to get us to help power it in terms of advertising and brand revenue, or whether it’s just the misalignment of every non-search free product as a feeder for Google+, I can’t say.

Occupy Google+

But either way, I’m not alone in feeling unsettled by Google’s new direction, and as we’ve seen, current success doesn’t mean permanence, particularly online. Google has some security in that the integration of Gmail, Reader, Analytics, Apps for Business etc are so deep into our lives and companies that it will take a significant motivation to switch, but given the current moves from my techie friends to alternative feed readers, and the existence of established and good paid analytics alternatives, it’s not inconceivable that the move could start to happen.

And given the results of some blind search engine result testing, it appears that one of the main reasons for Google continuing to dominant search is the familiarity of the brand, rather than the results being returned in comparison to Bing – which means that losing the perception of their values may not just damage the potential success of Google+, but could also lead to a greater threat to their core search business.

Breaking Google Reader on the wheel of Google +?

Google has announced it will make a number of changes to Google Reader ‘in the next week’, and by the looks of it, they’re going to break a great existing product and tool which is used by a lot of professionals to be able to shoehorn some extra interaction into Google+.

Normally, I’d advise waiting and seeing what the changes are to a product before complaining, but the post on the official Google blog gives enough information to be really, really worrying.

‘in a week’s time we’ll be retiring things like friending, following and shared link blogs inside of Reader.’

That scares me for a number of reasons.

  • A week? Seriously? That makes Yahoo look kind in the way they’ve ended or sold services. Presumably if they do it quick there won’t be enough time for people to organise a concerted campaign of complaints or realise exactly what the changes mean.
  • No following? There’s a reason why I use both Reader and Google+ throughout the day, but spending almost all day, every day in Reader – I use it professionally, and have a very small number of people I follow. Those are people who consistently find things which are important to know about, and I enjoy being able to find out when they’ve just read them – not see a jumble of items which might be new, old, or social items like holiday images etc which are being put on Google+ weeks or months after they’ve happened.
  • Most importantly – No Shared Link Blogs!!!! (Mine is here and has been sharing items for several years now). As a part of curating and sharing information, I’ve used the RSS feed from that page to power various other services, and now it won’t exist? I’ve shared 16991 articles since starting to use Google Reader, and all of the value that has created is going.

I know that people have been requesting a better SendTo integration for Google+, although there is a workaround already in place which does the job, but I can’t believe that people have ‘highly requested ‘ the end of following or shared link blogs? Anyone that doesn’t want to follow or publicly share has the option to never do it already, so turning those features off makes no sense.

Unless you’re trying to artificially inflate the amount being shared on Google+.

Our only hope…

Now aside from reinforcing the fact that if you use a free service, you should expect that they won’t care about you – ‘If you’re not paying for the product, you’re not the customer, you’re the product’, it does beg the question what will happen to those services for people who might be paying for Google Apps? I don’t know how Apps revenue stacks up against the hopes for Google+, but I suspect it won’t make a big enough difference, sadly.

Which leaves Louis Gray as the only hope that this won’t be an enormously painful and damaging moveboth for Google and for everyone that used Google Reader as a business tool. Not only is he smart, but he’s specialised in working with, and making his name blogging about, information services, so if there’s one person at Google who may understand the difference between professional use and social use, you would hope as a Google+ Product Marketing Manager he might have had a chance to speak with the Google Reader team?

The final pain is the comment from Alen Green suggesting that if we decide Google Reader is no longer for us, we can move to another service. Which is technically true, but given that Google Reader has roughly 70% or more of the RSS Reader market, there’s not exactly a huge number of viable alternatives – two of the other services I’ve used in the past both closed after Google effectively crushed them by weight of numbers. It’s not quite like social bookmarking, where I’ve used Diigo and Delicious in tandem for a long time now to ensure that I always have a backup – it means exporting all my data, finding a service which is directly comparable in terms of features, and hoping that everything can be uploaded and work without disrupting my business too much.

Google hording data inside Google+?

Whilst Google does have a data export project, there’s a difference between exporting data and being able to syndicate it. And until I see a handy RSS link for items I +1, ideally with some kind of category filter which means I can take a feed of the information I’m sharing, rather than everything I’ve ever liked, including static content, photos etc, then it appears that Google is intent on following the walled garden approach of Facebook in bringing in as much as possible behind a walled garden. Which isn’t a selling point when Facebook already exists.

I don’t know what will happen in the next week, or how much my business and workflow will be disrupted, but if you know any good, comparable and compatible RSS Readers – paid or free, then let me know. And if there’s an open source option, all the better. Meanwhile when I categorise this post under ‘Tools’ you can assume both meanings of the word are inferred.

 

What’s in a crowdsourcing….

I was going to write an eloquent and heartfelt post regarding everything that’s wrong about the attempt by Golley Slater to rebrand by a hamfisted attempt at ‘crowdsourcing’ – another example why really we should be stricter about how the term is used, and why co-collaboration should probably replace it.

But then I spotted the always interesting Andrea Phillips had beaten me to is on her blog, Deus Ex Machinatio. Worth reading the post if you’re interested in ever trying to actually achieve something productive using crowdsourcing mechanics, and also if you’re interested in transmedia and game design/mechanics etc.

So I’ll get back to working and trying not to lose myself in playing with Google +. Despite being touted initially as a ‘Facebook killer’, it actually seems more and more people are coming round to thinking of it as a potential rival to Twitter in the curation of streams of content. Similar to how Twitter might have evolved lists, or how Tweetdeck used them to create a more workable interface at scale.

 

Google Me – quick thoughts for and against…

So the rumours are building about the ‘Facebook killer’ being worked on at Google. And whenever there are big rumours, the blogosphere rushes to comment. For example, Mike Arrington argues Google should clone Facebook, Kim-Mai Cutler argues the opposite.

My own thoughts are mixed, but I’ve had a couple of ideas which I don’t seem to have seen elsewhere:

For Google:

  • Android. 5 million activations a month, a focus on mobile first (as said by Eric Schmidt), and working across mobiles and the merging tablet market (in terms of tablets now getting mainstream coverage and adoption post iPad).
  • Data knowledge. They might not have completely aced social search and the social graph yet, but they’re used to working with humungous data sets.
  • Understanding the need for users to own their own data, as shown by the ‘Data Liberation Front’
  • Adsense – allowing users to instantly monetise with a proven model.
  • Does it have to beat Facebook? With Google Me and the rumoured Google Music, perhaps picking up ex-Myspace users is a better first step. If it can pick up people leaving Myspace and Facebook, social networks become a two horse race, with Google in the game.
  • Location – combining social graph with location-based apps and great mapping software.

Against Google:

  • Previous approaches haven’t resulted in great design and usability.
  • Fragmented approach with Google Profiles, Google Buzz, Googlemail, Orkut, etc.
  • Orkut has had success in some territories, but is up against Facebook and a global reach of 500 million +
  • Remember their interest in Jaiku as a Twitter rival?
  • Google Buzz being shoe-horned into Googlemail, and the privacy uproar it created.
  • Mainstream social network users aren’t showing a huge global response to privacy concerns yet.

That’s pretty much a summary so far. When it comes to whether or not Google can create something that will succeed, none of us can possibly tell until we see a product actually launching. But what we can see is that Google has some significant advantages in the market which it has so far failed to utilise for Google Buzz, Orkut or Jaiku, but which could transform any new product.

Privacy update for Google Buzz – removing auto-follow

Google has rolled out updates to Google Buzz in the wake of privacy concerns, including replacing auto-following with suggestions for people to follow. And although the change was actually made back in February, an update today will make this change apparent to anyone who signed up before February 13th.

Aside from the fact that there has been a sizeable user backlash on the privacy problems initially created by Google Buzz, and potentially the service has failed to take off, Google also has another major privacy issue. Google Buzz is under investigation by the U.S FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

One example of the reason is that White House Deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin, a former Google employee, recently found his Google Buzz account revealed many of his Gmail accounts publicly, including a number of Google lobbyists or lawyers. His account has now been deleted after a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.

There’s also a new Youtube channel for Google to share tips and tricks on using Google Buzz.

And new settings in your Googlemail preferences mean that you can now control which Buzz items arrive via email in future, to decide between comments on your posts, comments on posts after you’ve contributed, and comments on posts after you’ve been @replied on them. The promised ‘mute’ button hasn’t quite arrived yet, but the problem with Buzz is that it needs to keep changing incredibly quickly to adapt, and it needs to work across 50+ Gmail languages from the start without causing problems with latency or downtime.

Every other social network started small and then grew exponentially – Twitter, Facebook, Myspace etc. In the case of Google Buzz, it attempted to get a headstart by launching to millions and then adapting – something which might prove akin to trying to change natural evolution.