Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube video sharing property and Chrome Web browser have both been more closely integrated with Google+, the company's young social network.
Since its June launch, Google+ users have been able to watch YouTube videos with their friends, family or colleagues via the Hangouts group video chat application, which enables up to 10 users to watch YouTube clips, music videos or even movies and discuss them in real time. Google in August added the ability for YouTube users with Google+ accounts to start Hangouts right from YouTube with the click of a button.
Google+ and YouTube got a lot cozier Nov. 3, offering something of an ad-hoc streaming music, video or movie player.
Users can now click a YouTube "slider" in their Google+ stream to jump right into YouTube from the social network. To do this, users mouse over the YouTube icon at the top right in Google+.
When the button slides out, users can type in what they want to search for and hit Enter. YouTube will begin playing a list of related videos in a pop-up window. This feature worked well as a little streaming audio player.
On a whim, eWEEK typed in "Jawbox, For Your Own Special Sweetheart" and received essentially a set list of the band's albums, including a nice mix of studio and live cuts from that D.C. hardcore album. Moreover, we were able to move the pop-window all around the screen without losing the content.
As a bonus, we were able to then share the content with our Circles by clicking the Share button located in the top right-hand corner of the YouTube video that's playing in the pop-up window.
Google also added two new Google+ Chrome extensions. The +1 button extension lets users +1 any Web page and share it with their Google+ Circles. The notifications extension lets users check their Google+ notifications while they browse the Web.
These YouTube and Chrome tools are the kind of features Google CEO Larry Page and Google+ Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra referred to as shipping the Google in Google+, a euphemism for splicing more of the company's Web services with the social network.
Google has also integrated Google+ with Gmail, Search, Google Reader, Google Maps and Google News, among other combinations. With this layered, integrated approach, Google is essentially rebuilding its brand as the premier search engine to becoming the premier social destination online.
However, it has to compete with Facebook and its massive network of 800 million-plus users worldwide to carve out a piece of social real estate. At 40 million-plus users and counting, Google has a ways to go. But integrating Google and Google+ is an essential start.