+1 – Google’s latest attempt to get social
About a week ago Google launched its latest foray into world of social media with its +1 button. In Google’s own words:
+1 – the digital shorthand for “this is pretty cool.”
It has caused a bit of debate in SEO circles mainly over whether it will or won’t succeed. Only time will tell and if Google’s other attempts in this area are anything to go by, it might not.
So what does it actually do and how does it work? Well it’s pretty simple really and along the lines of a Facebook like button.
You’ll get a +1 button next to the search result:
If you like result and think that it might be valuable to others you click the +1 button.
Hey presto, you’ve just +1’d it and now if people in your social circle are searching for something similar they’ll see you’ve +1’d the result:
So if enough people you know actually use it, it could be a handy tool and has the potential to provide more meaningful search results based on recommendations from people you know.
Will it work? Well that will really be down to whether Google get enough momentum behind it. And if they do, making sure it isn’t easy to spam by companies eager to get to the top of the rankings.
A number of commentators have questioned the user journey and how likely users are to +1 when in the search results. Are you likely to +1 a result before you have visited the site and would you return to the search results to +1 when you have?
Google have said that they’ll be adding the ability to +1 a website or web page when you get there in much the same way as you can like a site on Facebook from the site itself. This should make it easier and more familiar for users.
Some commentators have said it doesn’t provide the value of a Facebook like, which immediately posts to your wall and announces your recommendation to your network.
We’d agree it is more passive, but from our perspective that is more in line with how Google works anyway. If you +1, your recommendation will be picked up when someone in your network is actually looking for that product, service or information, making it more timely and relevant as a recommendation. So from that perspective it works.
The biggest question is whether people really buy into Google as a social network. How many people are you connected to via Google? If you are using Google Mail, perhaps quite a few…
At the end of the day even if Google haven’t got +1 right just yet, social influence in search is here to stay. Yes it is likely that they’ll go through a few iterations, probably buy Twitter and integrate it with that, but watch this space as social is the future of search.
Do you want to give +1 a try for yourself? If you are in the UK – here’s how you can find it:
- Login to your Google Account
- Visit this page: http://www.google.com/experimental/index.html
- Join the +1 experiment by clicking the Join this experiment button