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Wil Wheaton goes ape on Google+

When forced to join Google's social network to like a video on YouTube, the actor writes a scathing rant on Tumblr, criticizing the Internet giant that is then re-blogged thousands of times.

According to Wil Wheaton, a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" actor turned writer and blogger, "Google is making a huge and annoying mistake."

His main complaint is the Internet giant's move to "force Google Plus on everyone." His woes began yesterday when he watched a YouTube video and tried to like it by clicking the thumbs up icon below the video. Instead of the icon he saw a big G+ like button along with a popup that said, "upgrade to Google+."

Wheaton immediately took to his popular Tumblr blog and wrote:

Oh, go f*** yourself, Google. This is just as bad as companies forcing me to "like" something on Facebook before I can view whatever it is they want me to "like."

Just let me thumbs up something, without forcing me to "upgrade" to G+, you ****heads.

The worst part of this? For a producer like me, I'm going to lose a crapton of potential upvotes for Tabletop, because the core of my audience is tech-savvy and may not want to "upgrade" to yet another f***ing social network they don't want or need.

This rant was re-blogged by more than 2,300 Tumblr users. One would think that with this sort of vitriolic animosity Wheaton doesn't have a Google+ account. However, he does and he uses it often. In fact, nearly 1.4 million Google+ users have included him in their circles.

Wheaton's anger was focused on potential users who would want to give his videos a thumbs up, or upvote, and couldn't unless they joined Google+. On his personal blog, he wrote, "Those upvotes are incredibly important to us, because we need them to earn another season of our show."

In the face of social networking behemoths like Facebook and Twitter, Google+ has had to work hard to keep up. A ComScore report from February showed that Facebook users spend an average of 7.5 hours on the site per month, while Google+ users spend just a piddly 3.3 minutes per month.

When Google first launched its social network last June, the company had high hopes that it would be the next generation of the service that could combine what was at the company's core -- its search engine -- with social networking. This would also mean the integration of its products, such as YouTube and Google+.

However, users aren't always happy with change or with being forced to use a product they're not interested in. "You get people to enthusiastically use services by making them compelling and awesome and easy to use," Wheaton wrote in his blog. "You don't get people to enthusiastically use your services by forcing them to."

At the time of this writing, the usual YouTube thumbs up and thumbs down icons are back in place.