In mid-March, Google launched a social sharing tool called “+1.” Similar to the Facebook “Like”, +1 was added to search results to improve social relevance for users. It was noted last week that +1 will make its way across the Web in addition to (simply) search, with a widget that allows Web pages to allow +1 sharing. This will link Google profiles to content and websites, and the +1 now aims to put Google in a space where they have strived to be in for the past 5 years: social.
Now, what exactly is +1? And why does it even matter? Essentially the +1 button is Google’s version of the “Like.” With hopes to capture a bit of Facebook market share, Google looks to take the world’s information and make it publicly available (according to their mission statement). So what does this mean for you? Well, besides the fact that it’s another way to draw traffic to your blog, the +1 button looks to make searches more relevant. The question remains how important the +1 button will be in search. If getting people to click on the +1 button drastically impacts search relevance (which could be possible given Google’s frantic attempts to become “social”) we may see companies pushing for engagement on Google’s platform.
What is Google Doing?
Google is essentially looking to build out a user’s Google profile to incorporate all elements of search and social behaviors. They want to link social networks and search relevance, and act as an umbrella for users to find similar content and sites.
Currently, Facebook is able to offer targeted ads to their advertisers because they carry a wide variety of information about Facebook users. Facebook knows where you work, what movies you like, and what causes you support. Google understands that this information is important and if gathered correctly, can be leveraged with search, to target advertisements even more than they are already. Facebook and Google have treaded lightly when creating partnerships because Facebook knows its secret sauce is the ability to target users based on preferences. This +1 button could be a game changer in allowing Google more user information.
They’ve been rather slow (in Googlespeed) to roll out this platform across multiple networks. But you should be seeing the +1 buttons on websites sooner than later. Currently, The Huffington Post, Mashable, Tech Crunch, Reuters, Rotten Tomatoes and AddThis have adopted the widget, and we should see a bunch more in the future.
What are your plans for +1? Are you a teacher’s pet and will bow to anything Google throws out, or are you a bit more careful to not flood your social sharing toolboxes? We already have Digg, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Myspace, Posterous, do we need +1 more?
About the author: Matt Krautstrunk is an expert writer on merchant services and credit card processing companies, based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions at Resource Nation.