YouTube's social toolbar needs work

Google always seems to have trouble launching a social service. Just last week, they launched a public profile product without an "add as a friend" button.

Google always seems to have trouble launching a social service. Just last week, they launched a public profile product without an "add as a friend" button.

Today, it's YouTube's realtime friend toolbar. It claims to allow you to see which videos your friends are watching in realtime. Sounds like a cool feature, but it takes some work to get it running smoothly.

After you have established a friendship with someone on YouTube (which is no simple task), you have to invite them to use RealTime. After they have accepted, they are required to logout and log back in again. Even after this, it took a while to actually see friends in the toolbar.

One cool feature is that you can invite a friend to watch the same video you're watching.

But it's almost as annoying as Facebook Chat. When you are watching a movie, you don't want to be interrupted by fart and kitty video invites.

I tried connecting with two competent, computer-knowledgeable CNET co-workers and I was mostly unsuccessful.

I think Google needs to learn a lesson in social media web development. They have all the power in the world, but it's hard to interact with other Google users. Maybe the Gmail team needs to look at this idea and figure out a way to revolve everything around email.