I’ve been uploading things to YouTube for a few years now. Hardly a heavy user, mind you, and I was never eagerly chasing views: it was mainly just a place to store small bits of video easily that I didn’t especially want to pay the hosting costs for.
This was was the case tonight, where I had recorded a fun bit of video I wanted to share with the world. So I go to the YouTube upload page, and was greeted with this. Pay special attention to the right-hand column:
It gets worse. None of my existing videos will work any more unless I agree to the new terms:
Let me be very clear, Google. You will not force me to create a Google+ profile.
It’s not Google+ itself I object to. I had one, hardly used it, deleted it, and then got on with my life. It’s the forcing me to have a profile in order to carry on using another part of Google’s services that I object to. I will not do it. I will just stop using YouTube instead.
(Incidentally, I did have my channel as hidden before, so nobody could view my channel page; but individual linked-to videos worked fine for everybody. I was aware that hidden channels were no longer going to be a feature shortly – Google warned me plenty of times about that – but that’s a totally separate issue from forcing you to have a Google+ profile.)
Of course, Google have the right to do it. Free service, and all that. My rights solely consist of throwing up my hands in horror and never using YouTube again. I’m not even going to claim many people will do the same, and it’s a big mistake: most people won’t even notice or care, and a lot of those that do will grunt with irritation and then take the path of least resistance. It is perhaps worth noting though that I usually do the latter… and this has pushed me too far. No more. They’re not going to force me into this one. I’m picking up my ball and going home.
This kind of bellyaching about control and privacy is hardly new. This is in no way some kind of amazing revelation. Nonetheless, this kind of thing is always about your own personal limit. It’s so easy to shake your head, take the hit, and move on because it’s easier. But once you reach the limit, this kind of thing makes you reconsider everything. I always used to self-host pretty much everything; now, I have a very regularly updated Tumblr, and have recently started a Soundcloud account. Right now, I’m of a mind to start self-hosting every last little scrap of everything I put on the internet. In the meantime, apologies for any videos currently on Dirty Feed which don’t work; I’ll get them fixed when I dig out the original files and figure out where to host them.
And I’ll have to deal with the other worry which looms at the back of my head. How long before I’m not allowed to use GMail without setting up a Google+ profile, bearing in mind that it’s my main email account, and has been for years?
I get the feeling it’s about time to start moving.