Google has been busy rolling out some controversial changes recently. Its encryption of search keywords will rankle with SEO and marketing types, but the addition of Google+ comments to its YouTube video service should rile hotheads, while cleaning out a lot of the cruft.
Safer Searching With Google
Google users who were logged into their account have enjoyed the benefit of secure searching since 2011, and the popular browsers have been steadily enacting the service in their updates. But this month Google finally flipped the master switch that means all searches are encrypted to prevent their keyword terms being read or monitored.
That will radically change the landscape for advertisers and marketers who rely on Google's AdSense and use of keywords as more results start showing up blank, with the infamous "not provided" string, clouding the journeys of web users, and their advertising footprint. However, this is largely old news for marketers who have found ways around it (via Google's own webmaster tools) or mitigated the worst of the damage.
Still, its an interesting move by Google in light of the recent Web spying scandals, but is most likely just to increase the use of Google's own ad tools. Note that the change does not affect data when users click on an advert, Google wouldn't shoot itself in the foot (deliberately) would it?
An End to YouTube Comment Chaos?
Another Google move has been to start rolling out the use of Google+ comments among the notorious wild west of YouTube. Almost any popular video's comments consist of a barrage of spam, abuse, negativity and more abuse. By filtering them through publicly identifiable Google+ accounts, the company must hope that most of the garbage goes away.
Perhaps all those twerking videos deserve the abuse, but for businesses and media trying to have any kind of conversation across YouTube is a minefield to be navigated. To counter this, comments from the original creator of a video will take priority to keep any chat on track. Comments from YouTube's good citizens and those in your own Google+ circles will also be more visible, whether posted in YouTube or Google+.
As a side benefit, private conversations can be moved over to Google+ and continued without taking over an entire topic. Comments can still be voted up or down, a much loved YouTube tradition while content owners can still manage and moderate comments, or just disable them completely. Offensive users can be blocked and pejorative terms added to a blacklist for some proactive editorial control.