Following YouTube’s acquisition by Google in 2006, new YouTube signups were given the choice between two different account systems to power their YouTube experience: the original YouTube account system (built in 2005) or the Google Account system.

In May 2009, we started requiring all new YouTube usernames to be powered by Google Accounts.

Now, we’re gradually asking all remaining pre-May 2009 users still using the older YouTube account system to connect a Google Account to their YouTube username. For now, it’s an optional step, but eventually it’ll be required in order to continue using your YouTube username.

Before we go any further, we should clarify three important facts:
  • YouTube usernames themselves aren’t going anywhere. No matter when you signed up for YouTube, or if you’re currently associated with a Google Account, you’ll still be “LifeOfTheParty29” (aka “your username”) on YouTube.
  • A Google Account is not necessarily a Gmail account. You can create a Google Account with any email address through many different Google products, just like you can create a Twitter or Facebook account with any email address. Of course, you can choose to use Gmail as the email address for your Google Account.
  • Connecting your existing YouTube username to an existing Google Account doesn’t start sharing your YouTube activity to your Buzz followers; it’s only an account connection behind the scenes, and it’s still up to you to decide whether or not to bring YouTube into the rest of your Google life.
So what’s the point of asking people to connect a Google Account to their older YouTube account? Here are the main reasons:
  • Improved account security. The Google Account system is robust and will help reduce spam across the site; users will get a slew of security and safety features that Google has spent the past decade developing.
  • A single account system. This may not mean much to anyone outside of the YouTube engineering team, but behind the scenes it’s extremely complicated to support two different account systems. Having all users on the same account system not only simplifies matters, but more important, it makes it much easier to use Google technologies to keep the site running smoothly (over two billion views a day and counting), as well as introduce new functionality.
If you have an older YouTube account and you’d like to link to a new or existing Google Account today, just visit this page and choose to link to an existing Google Account or a brand new one. You can also visit our "Linked YouTube/Google Accounts" topic in the Help Center for more information on common questions and problems.

And, as a reminder, if you’d like to review all of the services and data associated with your Google Account at a glance, visit the Google Privacy Dashboard.

Brett Hobbs, Software Engineer, recently watched "The World's Reaction to Landon Donovan's Game Winning Goal."