Today Google launched a +1 button, which most are hailing as a rival to the Facebook like button and even Twitter’s retweet button, but for search results. Limited to your Google contacts and chat friends, Google hints at connecting +1 with Twitter, but noticeably doesn’t mention Facebook. Is this another move for Google to go social? Will you +1?
Some of you may notice that +1 is a common notation for liking someone’s comment on the web (when no like button is available). Google’s +1 could be taking this to heart. Google Product Manager Rob Spiro announced +1 on the Official Google Blog,
Our goal at Google is to get you the most relevant results as quickly as possible. But relevance is about relationships as well as words on webpages. That’s why we recently started to include more information from people you know—stuff they’ve shared on Twitter, Flickr and other sites—in Google search results.
Today we’re taking that a step further, enabling you to share recommendations with the world right in Google’s search results. It’s called +1—the digital shorthand for “this is pretty cool.” To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful. These +1’s will then start appearing in Google’s search results.
What Is Google +1?
t seems that Google is trying to help you not only search through their index of links on the web, but surface related links that your friends have come across in your search results. You Google chat, contacts, and Google Profile play significant roles in +1 button. Those “friends” that Google are talking about are actually your Google Chat friends and contacts.
In your Google Profile, you’ll see a +1 tab that records of all your recommendations. This one section does something that Facebook likes nor Twitter retweets offer to users: a history of your interactions.
I honestly don’t find new articles via Google Search anymore. If anything, I’m using Google Search to find articles I’ve already read and want to use for one reason or another. Oh, and for free tech support.
As for replacing Facebook Likes or Twitter Retweet buttons, I highly doubt it. This doesn’t have that socially viral nature. This feels slower and more curated, just like a search engine.
Is It Worth It?
Caroline McCarthy from CNET’s The Social seems excited about +1, but argues that “it’s far too early to make judgment calls.” I have to agree with Gina Trapani’s tweet:
“I don’t see myself curating search results much. By the time I know a result is good, I’ve left. What about you?“
It sounds almost absurd to do so when you could just as easily tweet or like it and share that recommendation with your friends all the same. I want to stress that the +1 tab on Google Profile’s could make a difference, but then again, who really visits their Google profile?
People just don’t use Google services or search as a social network the way they’d use Facebook or Twitter. Google has social networking features, but it can’t shed it’s search engine image enough to turn with the tides. If you want to try it out opt-in the +1 experiment in Google Labs.