YouTube teams up with Google+ to turn comments into conversations

Comments on the internet: often a haven for trolls and axe-grinders, but comment threads also give rise to some insightful and entertaining commentary. In an effort to encourage the latter and to provide users with an improved experience, YouTube's rolling out a new commenting system that integrates deeply with Google+. What does that mean, exactly? Much like that other social network's News Feed, comments in YouTube will be based on relevance, not how recently they were posted. So, comments from people you know, celebrities and video creators, plus positively rated comments will percolate to the top of comment threads according to Big G's ranking algorithms. Additionally, replies will be nested beneath original comments to better enable conversations. Like Facebook, should you find the idea of automated comment curation unsettling, you can always switch back to the old way of having the most recent comments show up first.

The integration with Google+ also broadens your commenting boundaries; post a comment on YouTube, then share that video on on G+ and comments and replies made on either site will show up in both places. You can also control who gets to read comments you make by choosing which circles will see them, so you can even have private conversations. As for content owners, the system borrows features from many other commenting platforms. To deal with comments at scale, channel admins can build user whitelists and blacklisted words and phrases to make moderation easy. YouTube Product Manager Nundu Janakiram tells us that the comments system has been in the works for over a year, and that these features are only the beginning. His team plans to provide even better tools for users and content creators to let them filter out the noise and increase the quality of comments. Initially, folks will be able to test out the new comments in the discussion tab on any YouTube channel's home page, after which it'll roll out to individual videos in the coming months -- and we'd be shocked if these G+ enabled comments don't make their way into many other Google properties eventually, too.