Sharing Videos with Google+ Circles (Restricted Posting)

[This post was updated 8th June, 2012 to reflect my better understanding of how Blogger/blogspot can work with Google+]

It’s not immediately apparent what the best way of sharing videos with a restricted set of people is. Probably the easiest way of doing this was Posterous, but it’s future must be now in doubt following it’s acquisition by Twitter, so for  sharing family videos it’s worth examining alternatives. You can of course host them on a service such as Vimeo or YouTube, or embed them in a blog post, and there are advantages and disadvantages of whatever approach you take. However, with Google+ you have the ability to define a Circle of the people you wish to see a video and then share that video with just them, either as a link to the clip hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, or from the video you’ve uploaded to Google+ Photos.

Before I discuss how you do this, it’s worth just mentioning my experience of using both of the two main blogging platforms – WordPress and Blogger – with embedded video. Until recently I thought there was really only one workable solution – WordPress but that’s all changed for me now.

With Blogger and its Private Blogs I thought you needed to add by invite, named people, but now I’ve realised and tested a Private Blog with Anyone able to read it. Your blog and its posts are not listed on Blogger and cannot be searched by name, post or content by any search engine – just what you want for a Private blog. Moreover when you go to Publish a post a Google+ Share box pops up which allows you to publish the post (with a separate commentary in Google+) to whoever you chose. Just what you want especially as YouTube videos and Vimeo videos can be embedded easily in Blogger posts as long as you list your blogspot domain in the list of permitted domains for embedding (see next para).

WordPress allows Password Protected posts which means that you can host a video on Vimeo (I have a subscription to Vimeo Plus) and restrict it’s visibility to being embedded on a defined set of domains as well as making it unavailable for viewing on Vimeo itself. You can then Password Protect the blog post where you’ve embedded the video clip and only people who know the password can see the post. In many ways this is similar to the result achieved with Posterous.

Of course you can also use Vimeo as the vehicle for sharing and Password Protect the videos there and achieve the same result, but I prefer to use Vimeo as a hosting platform only, not as another social network. Unfortunately YouTube doesn’t provide Password Protection of videos, but does provide the Unlisted option (a bit like the way Blogger does it) which does make sharing on Google+ such a good option and that is why I discuss that option, and using it with Google+, below.

It is worth mentioning that if you do want to make absolutely sure that your video is only visible to the people you share it with then you should Lock the Post, so do remember to do that for guaranteed restricted viewing!

Firstly, I will describe the process of sharing videos from an iPhone, and will then turn to how I do the same using a Flip Ultra HD and a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10. The process is probably similar for any smartphone, camcorder and digital camera with video capabilities.

Posting an iPhone video to Google+ for restricted viewing

This is the easiest and most straightforward workflow, it’s only real disadvantage is that it is not designed to allow the video to be subsequently shared in any other way than through Google+. There are two ways of doing it – the second is the easiest, but probably most people would use the first option.

Option1: Upload to Google+ Photos from Photos > Camera Roll on the iPhone

i) open Google+, select Post;

ii) choose Photos > Camera Roll and the video you want to share;

iii) select Circle or people you want to share the video with, and provide text for Post and press Post.

Option 2: Post directly to Google+ from camera

i) open Google+, select Camera;

ii) take video, select Use to use this video in your Post;

iii) select Circle or people you want to share the video with, and provide text for Post and press Post.

Posting an iPhone video to YouTube for restricted viewing on Google+

This use case requires that you use either a desktop browser with YouTube (the iOS YouTube app does not allow sharing on Google+ … yet), or access YouTube from the iPhone’s Safari!! I tend to use the first option, but if you don’t have access to another system you’ll need to use the rather convoluted method described in the second option.

Option 1: Using a desktop browser with YouTube

i) take video and then from Photos > Albums > Camera Roll select video clip from Album;

ii) select Send to YouTube, complete all parts of Publish Video screen, including selecting Standard or High Definition, and most importantly selecting Unlisted so that anyone who has the link to the video can see it, but it is not searchable, or findable on YouTube;

iii) press Publish button and after it’s been published to YouTube – press Close button;

iv) open Google+ on desktop, start a new post and Add your video clip from “Your YouTube videos” option;

v) complete Status Update text and choose Circle(s) or People you want to share the video with and Share the post.

Option 2: Using iPhone’s Safari with YouTube to post to Google+

i) take video and then from Photos > Albums > Camera Roll select video clip from Album;

ii) select Send to YouTube, complete all parts of Publish Video screen, including selecting Standard or High Definition, and most importantly selecting Unlisted so that anyone who has the link to the video can see it, but it is not searchable, or findable on YouTube;

iii) press Publish button and after it’s been published to YouTube – press Close button;

iv) open your YouTube account in Safari on the iPhone, select video and press < button to show options;

v) press Share and then select Google+ from “Share this Video” options.

Some other thoughts. You might wish to do a little bit of editing before posting. The iMovie app could help you there because it allows publishing to YouTube and Vimeo as well from the app. It costs £2.99 from the App Store and integrates well with iMovie on the Mac.

If you can’t be bothered to do an upload of your video, you can switch on Instant Upload in Google+ which will upload videos and photos taken on your iPhone to a Private Google+ folder. This can be set to only upload when connected to WiFi, or over the Mobile Network as well. It takes place when Google+ is active and for a short time afterwards. You can then access the videos by going to Photos within the Google+ app, and selecting them … “From your phone” and sharing them.

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