In September, YouTube announced that it would soon roll out a new commenting system powered by Google+. After testing it on channel discussion tabs for a few weeks, it’s now starting to roll it out to all videos on the site.
Given the size of YouTube, this roll-out will start this week, but it will take some time before it is fully effective. Until then, you may see both systems on the site, depending on which video you are watching.
It’s no secret that YouTube comments aren’t exactly a hotbed for smart conversations, so the company hopes that this change will increase the quality of comments by putting the emphasis on conversations and not on one-off comments. The idea here, YouTube says, is to ensure that “YouTube comments will become conversations that matter to you.”
Instead of organizing comments by chronology, YouTube will now rank them by relevancy, taking into account who wrote a comment, +1s, the number of replies and other signals to surface the best comments. Updates from the video’s creator or comment threads they participate in, as well as updates from people in your Google+ circles, will also rank highly. Users who prefer the old way can still switch from the “Top Comments” view to “Newest First.”
Thanks to this Google+ integration, comments can now be public or private. So if you just want to talk about a video with people in your Google+ circles, you can now do that.
To comment, YouTube users have to connect their accounts to a Google+ page or profile, however. By allowing users to connect their accounts to Google+ pages, they’ll still be able to use the service without using their real names, though for the majority of users, that’s probably an extra step they won’t take. In total, though, four out of five people have already connected their YouTube channels to their Google+ accounts, Google tells me.
For video creators, the Google+ commenting system introduces better ways to moderate comments. They can now block certain words, auto-approve comments from certain fans (based on the circles they are in) and still review comments before they are posted.