Google’s +1 button: helpful, social or another Wave of disappointment?

Google’s latest push for gaining ground in the social network is the introduction of the “+1” button. The idea behind +1 is that when you use Google’s search engine and you find something you like, agree with or have tested you can +1 the result. As Google themselves say:

“The +1 button is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.”

Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1’s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.”

It’s a given that in order to take part in this new idea you must first have a Google public profile. When you then +1 an article, advert or product, your name becomes directly associated across the web with your +1 chosen topic, also appearing on your public profile. Sound familiar?

After working through the whole of March on Engine Creative’s social presence such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter it would seem this is the next best thing to the “like” or “tweet” . Google are marketing the +1 as a “public stamp of approval” but this concept is not an original one, it is simply flagging “things” to your friends and contacts that you feel need to be highlighted. It is also no use to people who do not wish to have a public profile.

Google will also be introducing the +1 button for upload on to publishers websites, allowing the reader to +1 without leaving the individual website. Again, sound familiar to the Facebook “like” button?

If all of your friends buy into the +1 idea you can share links to common interests, such as gig ticket sites, recipes, online shops and recommended hotels or resorts. I must admit to initially being unsure of what this would really involve however, the official +1 explanation video explains the concept and long term plan clearly.

The Google +1 gives an alternative for people who want to share respected opinions and recommendations, while refining their searches to information which has already been verified by their friends and contacts. As you would expect, the more +1’s an article receives the higher search ranking it will then have.

The main draw back for the +1 feature is that if your friends and social circles are not connected then you will not benefit from being connected yourself. After all, if your friends don’t know about it or aren’t using it you might as well stick with Facebook.

After the failure of Google Wave to take off and the problems of Google Buzz, it’ll be intriguing to see if +1 fares any better.

  • Billy Clarke

    This Google +1 reminds me of behane.net’s appreciation button, although the Bh appreciation button isn’t limited to only friends and circles, which you do get, but is open to anyone who passes by.

    It’s a nice idea in principle, but I think it’ll be another epic fail for Google. I just don’t think the social thing is working for them…

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