Last week Google announced the latest in a long list of new social features that will be added to their search service, but interestingly the idea behind it is remarkably similar to one that we have seen already in the form of Facebook’s ‘Like’ button and before that, from the likes of Digg.
Google’s version of the one-click button will be called +1 (or Plus One) and will be the most significant social feature that we have seen on the Google service to date given that we’ve not seen the appearance of a Google Me or Google Circles social network as has been rumoured in the past.
Simply put it will allow you to recommend sites by clicking on the small +1 button by the side of the search result, which you will then be able to share with friends, colleagues and of course the rest of the world, but without a recognised social network behind it, Google +1 might be a tough sell to users.
To start with the number of users that will be able to use this will be fairly limited, in fact only 2% of Google’s English users in the US (which my admittedly poor mental maths suggests will be around 5-10 million people) but unsurprisingly it is already being seen as a potential rival to the ever present Facebook ‘Like’ button which has spread like a social disease of the website and onto third party sites across the web.
However, Google have been keen to differentiate +1 from the Facebook phenomenon saying that it serves a different function to the ‘Like’ button as the +1’s will only be shared within search results rather than, and I quote, spamming all contacts. Ultimately this will begin to influence the way in which sites are ranked in the search results as one will be able to make recommended sites more visible in ones searches.
Either way this is a definite step forwards from Google towards the ‘social’ future, and hopefully will be more of a success than their previous attempts!
What do you think to adding these kind of Google social voting buttons to search results and websites? Do we need another voting system? Will you +1 search results? Will it help you to decide which search result to click on?
Or is Google +1 another distraction that will increase the length of time you end up having to look through search results, instead of Google providing a service that means you spend as little time as possible getting to your online destination?
Via – Google Blog