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YouTube gets Google+ viewing party feature

Google adds a link to its YouTube service, giving video viewers the opportunity to watch with friends using its Google+ social network.

If you just have to share a video of a sneezing baby panda bear, Google has just made it a bit easier.

In a move that adds Google+ functionality to another Google product, the Web giant has integrated its social network even more closely with YouTube. Today, Google added a button to video pages on YouTube, letting Google+ users start a Hangout video conference with their friends while watching a video.

Google adds the ability to watch YouTube videos with friends, adding a button that lets Google+ users launch a Hangout video conference from YouTube. YouTube; screenshot by Jay Greene/CNET

So now, at the bottom of that adorable sneezing baby panda video, and every other video on YouTube, users can click the "Share" button. From there, a set of options pop up including embedding the video, e-mailing it, as well as sharing links on Facebook and Twitter. Now, users have the option of watching the video in a Google+ Hangout as well.

When Google+ users click "Start a Google+ Hangout", a new window opens, offering the chance to add friends from Google+ Circles to the viewing party.

Since the launch of Google+ in June, users could watch YouTube videos with friends in Hangouts. By adding the feature to the YouTube site itself, Google is widening the reach of Google+ in its bid to compete with Facebook, which began offering its own video chat service, powered by Skype, shortly after Google+ debuted.