Archive for May, 2011
Google is taking the biggest step towards its own social network (without actually building its own social network) then it has ever dared to with the “+1″ button release. As much as it appears to be a copycat of Facebook “Like” that’s already become a web standard, Google’s biggest selling point for this feature may be the ability for users to filter search results into something more manageable. The +1 icon will start to appear throughout Google’s search engine allowing you to instantly review what you have just read. To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful for the +1’s to then start appearing in Google’s search results. (See demonstrative illustration below)
Google, explain it In their own words by saying “for example, you’re planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif. When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area”. You will be able to control items you’ve +1′d and you’ll be able to share pages with everything you’ve +1′d also, but remember that anything (and EVERYTHING) you’ve +1′d can show up in Google’s search results for all to see. Of course, at the end of the day, search is still the one place where Google dominates. Enhancing search to make the results more relevant is central to Google’s strategy. So undoubtedly this will take off, however, not without its obstacles.Obstacle 1. Google said it plans to work with Web sites to get +1 buttons on those sites the same way that Facebook’s ‘like’ buttons appear. Until that’s part of the equation, +1 is an incomplete tool. People want to recommend sites that they’ve visited and like – not the ones they found in search results as they have yet to formulate their opinion of said site at that point.
Obstacle 2. Facebookers have shown to love “liking” a site/email etc as they know it’s like telling their friends and acquaintances that they’re happy to promote that site or email article or video etc, without having to justify why into context. For me, my friends know that I’m a digital geek so a “like” from me, the person they know (and see as reputable… well maybe not) on means something to them (I hope). Moving this logic over to people around the Internet who I don’t know putting their “+1″ stamp on my search topics, it doesn’t do much for me.
Overall, as Google’s answer to the “like” button +1 was an inevitable catch up move. We can’t always be the first to market with concept, though I can’t help but think it would have been better if it had been rolled out as a button on individual web pages, instead of on the results pages. Given all of the other enhancements that Google has done to get Web searchers out of the results page and into the sites they’re seeking out, it doesn’t seem that users will really get to know +1 right away.