|"Free Will," a faustian original|
(skip if you want to the hacks)
Been playing the role of 'mouse' in Google's little cat-and- mouse game that has seemed to be the scheduled entertainment in the topiary maze that is teh interwebs. Not a role for which I signed up, not I was ever completely comfortable with. My darker moments transform the topiary maze to that scene from the Shining: encircled, the privacy conscious end user (that could be you or I, Gentle Reader) is unable to keep tabs on all the shenanigans and cahoots and evil underhandedness.
I keep finding myself given no choice that to hack my way out, and grateful I know how. (See? The topiary metaphor works, now, doesn't it?) More grateful that faceless corporations are not Stephen King's demonic hedge-animals -- (yet? to me?) -- or that I've woken up before that point... so far...
I have so far avoided Google+ only very very carefully. The only time Google has been more sneaky was when it posed as the OS X operating system to get authorization to enable third party cookies in Safari. Correction, and possible confession: that was the only time that I know of -- because they were caught ; and it may only have come to my attention -- because it applied to me.
Very carefully has meant:
- read everything
- don't click on anything
- especially click on nothing
- in a popup
- in an email (exception below)
To this I used to add these methodologies which are specific to avoiding Google+ while signed into Youtube:
- try to use a different browser for Youtube
- when hit with that annoying popup, refresh the page (I click the address bar and hit return, not wanting to risk an accidental 'enter' tat may be taken as a 'yes' by the popup).
- to upload a video, move fast:
- sign in to Google accounts,
- open a new tab,
- go to Youtube
- click upload before the page loads
- or you can just get the corresponding URLs from the source and enter them directly. I was thinking of making a form for this, but, as you shall soon see, it is no longer as relevant...
|click to enlarge|
The Bad News
All of that worked until very recently, when all of a sudden, bad news. the Google sign-in page was different. The Youtube head of that hydra seemed to be informing me me that only by upgrading to Google+ could I hope to enjoy the privilege of commenting on a video -- even if it was a reply to a comment posted on my own.
A bit of cursory, uh, ...googling, told me no different. Techcrunch, Engadget, CNET, all interpreting Google's new wording alike. Though each of course responded from their own particular agenda, almost all the sources on that first page of hits shared a virtually identical basic assumption, and each appeared to take that assumption fully for granted: that Youtube comments were now predicated upon surrendering to the inexorable force of nature that was Google+.
The Good News
The following worked for September and part of October for me, and may still work for you, since I doubt this policy is rolled out synchronously:
- follow the link sent to your email to reply to comments
- compose a reply, and
- post it
If everything goes well, as it has for me, no popup will appear until you are done -- in which case one of the above evasive techniques may work.
This however does not work if you want to do more than reply to a comment. Furthermore, though replying and uploading may be possible, one begins to feel like a second class netizen, what with all the dodging and refreshing.... This I only realize with the hindsight that comes from:
So good I made it into its own post. Everyone will be most happy: the answer is innocent, and right in front of you. In fact I am more dismayed, not by my own having missed it, but by its having been missed by so many whose business it is to be tech savvy, above.
I first discovered it in the process of one of the workarounds, above. I had disabled page styles (the command for which, by the way, is usually listed in the browser's menu bar under 'develop' or 'view,' sometimes 'tools') to post a comment -- it worked where more exotic approaches had had no effect -- and lo and behold I saw the words "opt out" in the source.
It seems there was a little 'x' there all along -- I re-enabled styles and yes indeed. Not a trick 'x,' it remained true to its purpose, thanking me as it hustled the micro-management-obssessive Google away, so as to keep me out its reach. Thanking me several times in fact.
The Seemingly Much Better News
Google implied it would be leaving me alone for a while, and I have had no problems since. That was yesterday. I would have screenshots of the opt out 'x', but I didn't take them or save the source, and now it seems impossible to reproduce. I am certainly not complaining
The Actually Not So Much Better News
Google has promised it would be back.
Be seeing you.