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Google to Tie YouTube Comments to Google Plus

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Trolls will lose some of their native habitat, but it could make Google Plus a bit livelier.

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is about to require a Google Plus account to comment on YouTube videos, which could give both properties a boost.

Google is the undisputed king of Internet search. Last month, its share of the search market was 67%. It even makes the most popular browser, Chrome, with 52% of the market. Gmail is also the world's largest email provider, having beat out Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Hotmail in October of last year.

But with its several forays into social networking, Google didn't have so much luck. Buzz was dead on arrival. Orkut was a noble effort but it mainly lives on in Brazil. Google Plus was well received, but two years after its launch, it's still basically a ghost town.

YouTube, however, can be considered both the second-largest search engine and the second-largest social network. Google is now marrying it to Google Plus to solve the problem of YouTube's notoriously awful and irrelevant comments.

"When it comes to the conversations happening on YouTube, recent does not necessarily mean relevant," Nundu Janakiram, a project manager, posted on the official YouTube Blog. "So, comments will soon become conversations that matter to you. In the coming months, comments from people you care about will rise up where you can see them, while new tools will help video creators moderate conversations for welcome and unwelcome voices."

Janakiram is of course referring to the video site's anonymous and often bigoted bullying and generally tasteless comments. Tying comments on videos to real identities is sure to dramatically reduce the level of trolling. Online publishers elsewhere are having users sign in with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter to comment.

Starting this week, YouTube's comments section will be powered by Google Plus. This way, the original video poster's comments, or comments that others found interesting, will float to the top, in a similar fashion to the upvoting feature on Reddit.com. You can also comment in ways that will only be seen by your friends or certain circles, rather than the entire Internet.

Judging by similar efforts at other outlets, using your real name (or at least a pseudonym that you bothered to make a Google Plus account for) in comments dramatically improves civil discourse. For Google, it might even get people to start actually using Google Plus rather than Facebook. Google Plus user growth is already outpacing Twitter, but getting people to actually spend a lot of time on it and make it valuable for advertisers is another thing. This change could turn Google Plus into a stronger contender against rivals.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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