By Adam Fraser
The world’s largest dedicated video viewing site (and second largest search engine) is evolving.
Facing competition at all angles as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Musical.ly increasingly focus on its core video offering, it continues to develop.
Addressing the threat from streaming video on demand specialists like Netflix and Hulu it launched a paid premium service YouTube Red (seemingly not going as well as hoped).
Addressing the threat from Periscope and Facebook live it recently announced the launch of YouTube live.
Now leaked stories show it is planning a launch later this year of Backstage – a way for video channel owners to facility further community like discussion. Publishers will be able to share polls, text posts, videos, images and links with followers, who will be able to share, reply and follow a stream.
Sounds suspiciously like a social network.
Despite being lumped in with the social networks, YouTube has never actually been that social to date. The comments sections were often spam infused and there was rarely a true sense of community.
With this somewhat belated move, YouTube moves towards the strategic direction of a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The idea seems sensible and on the right track but as the whole Google Plus story shows, execution is always key and Google’s track record in this area is not encouraging.
With Instagram recently shamelessly copying Snapchat in its launch of stories, Facebook’s move into live, Twitters adoption of so many features seen elsewhere and now YouTube’s announcement the sense grows of all social networks converging.
Launching a major new social platform to compete with the major players would now seem very very difficult (think Ello’); niche offerings like Musical.ly seem to have the best chance of breaking through before the big boys copy the same functionality.
YouTube’s plans are a step in the right direction. Time will tell whether this is a move too late.