YouTube Community - Google's Latest Social Networking Attempt
Is YouTube a social media platform? It's an interesting question, although the primary aim of YouTube is sharing video content, it's designed to connect people, viewers and creators alike. You can already make profiles, message people, subscribe to channels and so forth, but these aspects function like a one-way street - they're more used so that viewers can follow/investigate/pester their favourite let's player, vlogger or whoever else.

Making YouTube more openly social has always been part of Google's approach, but YouTube Community is perhaps the most dramatic step they've taken in that direction since they bought the site. Community enables creators to share other types of posts, which can be viewed through the subscription feed. Users can even set up notifications for them. Said posts can be photos, GIFs, live video streams and text.

Users can even set up notifications so that they know every time someone they follow has posted. So in essence, this is the same system Facebook use for fan pages, just perhaps a bit more stripped down. User responses are limited to comments and likes, but there's already talk of new features dropping in the near future.

The big question is, of course, whether or not these features will ever become universally available. It's hard to regard this as yet another attempt by Google to create a functional social network. All their previous attempts have failed, largely because they didn't offer anything particularly new or exciting. YouTube Community doesn't either, but the fact that it exists within YouTube shows that they've at least learned that there's no point in building from the ground up.

YouTube is the most popular video sharing site on the internet, and the second most popular website in the world full stop, according to the Alexa rankings. When you have such a resource at your disposal already, with over a billion users, it's probably a good idea to take advantage of it. More to the point, internet fame was completely changed by YouTube, and now Facebook are actively trying to snake that revenue out from under them by offering stars like Ray William Johnson and King Bach hefty payouts for exclusive livestreaming content.

Google were never going to take that lying down, and Community is an appropriate response, considering that it's offering a carrot to all their creators, big and small, and moving in on Facebook's territory at the same time. How well Community does depends on how quick creators are to snap it up and make it interesting, and chances are that won't take very long.

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