The Google golden age has ended

Everything sucks now. Google Photos will no longer provide unlimited uploads, Google Music has shutdown and YouTube Music is not a proper replacement, YouTube will now run ads even on unmonetized videos…

Google Photos no longer unlimited

Since I recently got into photography this one hurts quite a bit even though I already understood I was not going to benefit from unlimited uploads from my Canon 90D.

Prioir to 2020 I was snapping pictures right and left with my OnePlus 6 and I enjoyed it quite a bit. When unlimited high quality uploads was a thing I toggled this setting right away, even if it wasn’t archiving the original quality I was more than happy about it as it was.

On June 1st 2020 Google will no longer provide unlimited uploads, previous uploads that were part of the unlimited uploads will not count toward our storage usage. But this still sucks.

I was heavily using Google Photos to share albums with family and friends, I was also heavily pushing friend and family into using it instead of Facebook and WhatsApp because of how simple and efficient it was.

Now I know that photos coming out of Lightroom wouldn’t be able to be part of the unlimited uploads, but now I look like a fool.

YouTube Music

As someone with a small following and a nice number of uploaded videos to YouTube I use a brand account: SenpaiSilver.

Brand accounts permit users to have channels under a specific name instead of their own real name, used for the Google account, just like the good old Google+ pages back in the day when this had to be a thing.

So I can use YouTube Music to listen to some sick tunes with that brand account right? Possibly.

I can’t use my brand account to access my own uploads though, this makes using YouTube Music a very bad experience since I need to switch to my main account. Someone’s gonna get doxxed one day by forgetting to switch back.

Another list of issues come from the Android app:

  • Scrolling through your library requires loading after a couple of titles, can’t just scroll down through my small 500 song library in one flick of the finger;
  • The app attempts to sync very often and it might take more than minutes, killing my 2 day battery in under a day while I’m quarantined home;
  • The app might play music that is not within your queue, I’m not sure if it’s because I shuffle my music or loop it and I was not able to reproduce it.

Nothing seems right about how YouTube Music works and I wish for it to die a horrible death since I don’t see the appeal of it. Unlike YouTube Gaming, YouTube Music is an attempt a break something that was working really well and it just does that, even though no one asked for it.

YouTube running ads EVERYWHERE

As someone that is unable to monetize my own videos due to not meeting the requirements for that, I decided that the best thing to do would to just not show ads at all. Many viewers, including myself, run uBlock Origin to avoid ads and tracking anyway so how about I cut the middleman and make sure YouTube doesn’t bother trying to load ads ? Well I won’t be able to do so anymore.

YouTube will run ads on videos for channels that are not part of the YouTube Partner Program. I’d love to be a partner but I’m not meeting the requirements and YouTube is not a job nor a hobby of mine.
Previously we were able to just opt-out.

While I just confessed to blocking ads (and actually much more with uBlock Origin) I’ve subscribed to YouTube Premium for the past year and a half. I did that in part for Google Music and also because I liked the benefits such as picture in picture, downloading videos to my phone to watch later and not having ads on mobile. The thing is that right now it’s starting to become hard to justify.
I consume so much YouTube content that I make it worth it but is it really?

The golden age is over

Google isn’t the only one making bad decisions to improve growth and benefits. We could say that the internet golden age is over and direct the blame to Twitter, reddit and other popular services.

Gaming is not immune to that either, console game prices have increased, microtransactions are everywhere, storage requirements are too damn high and where’s the real fun?

I have unsubscribed from Linus Tech Tips

Linus Tech Tips is one of the channels I have the most followed out of my subscriptions over the years. I’ve been writing this post on and off since May 2017 and I have unsubscribed in April 2018.

I feel like this post is still relevant because it also shows what YouTube is becoming.

What I liked

I like the unboxing type videos that were going over hardware and benchmarks. The overclocking guides were nice and I always wished they would showcase some of the keyboard and mouse software that is actually part of the experience.

The content was genuine and didn’t seem all that forced (unlike pushing a Dyson sponsorship over a vlog).

There used to be something to get out of the content.

What I disliked

When doing review of keyboard and mice they always skipped the software that comes with it. It’s part of the experience too. They also don’t cover older hardware to see how it performs nowadays or make follow ups on gaming laptops…

Once the content is produced and uploaded they’re done, unless it’s a multi part video.

The silly faces do not make me feel like I’m a grown up too even though they were not as bad as the current ones.

Why I’m ending my subscription

It’s not what it was. It became pretty bad and that’s what happens when you expand. The clickbait is painful. The thumbnails are terrible. The video title could be randomly generated by and algorithm for all I care.

Toddlers made the thumbnails and wrote the titles

By looking at the thumbnails and the titles it’s really hard to know what it really is about:

  • Gaming with your FEET: what the name/brand of the device?
  • High School for GAMERS: where?
  • Hotel Built for Gamers – WHAT???: what and where again?
  • This Laptop Does EVERYTHING! Sorta.: which laptop?
  • Why is EVERYONE Buying the $200 Phone??: what phone?

The videos only aim to generate clicks, not content.

Clickbaiting Intensifies

Some call it sensationalist, I call it clickbait.

Name catching videos are necessary, right, everyone need to earn a living because food doesn’t grow on tables. But there are video titles that too far.

  1. A GAMING PC AS THIN AS A COIN!
  2. Triple your Battery Life for FREE! THIS METHOD REALLY WORKS!
  3. AMD RYZEN 5 AND 3 PERFORMANCE PREVIEW!
  4. We Stole Tampons from the Cashier-less Amazon Go
  5. Double your RAM – This Method Actually Works!

It sounds like a lie that a PC could be as thin as a coin. When I think of the thinness (or thickness) of a coin I don’t think about the diameter of one but about the actual side, edge or slice. When comparing thinness you take the thinnest part to compare to the other thinness part. The flat side of a coin isn’t the thinnest.

Triple your battery life by crippling your performance and experience! We could also desolder all the LEDs just in case and replace the electic fans with hand fan.

Already recommend while I just unsubscribed

In early 2021

This have not changed much…

It still won’t leave a good taste in my mouth…

The content doesn’t seem to be relevant to me.

Low Quality content

At first the quality was low. The idea was putting out new videos as quick as possible but we had informative content at least. That was during the NCIX time. Then LinusTechTips became a team and quality went up and the content was really good.

But now everything is going down the drain. Quality and informative content doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

  1. What Happens If You Delete System32?
  2. $30 MOTHERBOARD?! – Can it game?
  3. 5 BIZARRE Wearables;
  4. WTF?? A 3-Dimensional Keyboard??
  5. AMD LET ME BUILD THEIR NEW 80 VEGA SUPERCOMPUTER…

The 3D keyboard might be more damaging than anything else. The quality of the video is so bad that it doesn’t even feel serious anymore. We don’t need to have actors fake fainting/falling. The old B-roll was actually better.

Nitpicking

I don’t need to hear the sound of a data center, you can afford to do voiceovers now, not that it’s expensive or hard to integrate over moving pictures. I’d prefer high quality B-roll instead of bad and unnecessary acting.

Even an amateur would be able to stitch audio with Audacity and merge it with video by using ffmpeg.

The videos are also clearly aimed at the North American audience and the rest of world, in wich there’s Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe, won’t be able to relate to the pricing or the imperial system. There’s no world besides America on YouTube most of the time I guess.

For the pricing excluding tax makes price seems so much cheaper, it’s deceptive but it’s not like they sell the hardware they review so… Whatever I guess?
And again they target a North American audience.

High quality content

Let’s give credit to the guy where he deserves it. Some of his recent content can be pretty interesting.

These kind of videos are hard to come by today.

YouTube problem

Monetizing videos is harder than ever. The adpocalypse hit hard and pushed YouTubers to seek alternate ways of earning money such as sponsorships and Patreon. On the surface it’s not a big deal for us viewers and the idea isn’t bad at all if it really pays out in the end and doesn’t end up worse that the preroll ads.

Sponsors segments are no longer funny, they’re the unfunny joke that keeps getting told over and over until someone decides to change their slogan (Squarespace for example). Some other sponsors are irrelevant to the content been watched and I’m genuinely impressed that a shampoo brand hasn’t sponsored anyone I watch yet.

For sponsors to appeal to their viewer they need to be relevant and unlike TV they must not be the same copy/pasted speech that everyone knows and that doesn’t actually differ much from one channel to the other.

Pushing Patreon or some other pay wall is not as bad but it can still be tiring to end a video and have 2 or 3 minutes where the names of the Patreon subscribers are being shown or read… This is a waste of bandwidth and artificially increases the length of videos (to trick the algorithm maybe).
This also feels a bit like shaming the non paying viewer.

Sadly I have no viable solution to this issue. Revenue is never secured in this kind of business.

Recommendation

There are a couple of channels that are genuinely good, don’t clickbait and produce content with substance, I will highlight more in details these in a later post. In the meantime I’ll just list them here:

  • Gamers Nexus: Current tech, benchmarks, news and actual research;
  • Techmoan: Old tech with a British accent;
  • LGR: Retro hardware.

Honorable mention to Level 1 Techs (Level 1 Linux) for Wendell’s Linux coverage and hardware (but I still don’t like their news coverage).

At the time of publishing, these YouTuber are light on sponsors and put forward their content before anything else. There’s much more passion coming out of what they do.

Conclusion

LinusTechTips is becoming really irrelevant outside of the benchmarking of new hardware and new hardware isn’t released that often.

The videos are boring, clickbaity, irrelevant to my interest and full of sponsors that are irrelevant.

Just to be clear I’m not attacking anyone. I just don’t enjoy them anymore. I couldn’t care less if the channel were to shutdown, their success doesn’t affect me and I don’t want to be frustrated with the new “content” they produce.
They do not need me nor my subscription.

Update 26/01/2021

I decided to review this post recently. I replaced a channel I recommend because my views have changed and didn’t appreciate much some of the content that came out a couple months ago.

To this day I have not ressubbed nor watch any of their videos, I still don’t feel the need and I’m not really sad about it anymore. I don’t miss it.

I’d like to add to the recommendations that MKBHD started doing sponsored content for VPNs… Let’s not give in to the lies of VPN companies about security and needing it, instead have Tom Scott tell you more about it and what it really means using these kind of VPN services.

Tech YouTube is kind of boring to be honest and it’s fine that way, we need more facts than entertainment.

I’ve also added a new section about early 2021 just to show what the uploads look like. I still don’t like it.

Update 13/03/2022

I removed MKBHD from the sponsor list because I can’t really get behind his reviews anymore and the sponsor situation went from bad to worse because he is now promoting Cash App (easy way to send, receive and invest money apparently).

I strongly believe that no one should be recommending financial apps and companies as part of sponsors. What’s next ? Getting sponsored by hygiene products to get my balls shaved and fix my male pattern baldness ?
I find these sponsors highly inappropriate.

Also Linus tweeted out a pretty bad hot take about ad blocking and basically calling it piracy (the thread is wild):

LTT allegedly has a video about making a Pi-Hole (reddit comment), which is pretty ironic coming from someone with such opinion on ad blocking.

While I do understand that content is more often than not paid by some sort of ad revenue (sponsors included), ad blocking is not piracy and not copyright infringement.

To not stay on a bad note I’d like to congratulate Gamers Nexus on being great and always going above and beyond no matter what they do. This is what tech channels should be about.

I hope I didn’t jinx it until the next update?