Google +1 is no Facebook conqueror but it is the search engine's answer to the social network's super successful Like button. That is, it enables recommendations among Google.com users.
Google March 30 took its next step in its evolution toward
social search with the +1 button, which lets users share search results and ads
that meet their approval.
for months as Google's big answer to Facebook's social networking empire,
+1 is best thought of as simply Google's version of Facebook's Like button.
Google Profile users will click the +1 next to each search result or ad on
Google.com and +1's will start appearing next to each selected search result in
subsequent searches. Users may also immediately undo their +1 selection by clicking
the +1 again.
eWEEK searched for
"pizza," immediately seeing results for Dominos Pizza and ads with +1
buttons next to them. Clicking on them lets us recommend the results to users
who follow us.
Google plans to use the same signals it employs with
social search to put the most useful recommendations in front of users, including
things liked by Gmail, Google Reader Google Buzz and Google Contact users they
are already connected to through Google. Eventually, Google will use connections users have on
sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to boost the relevancy of recommendations.
Per eWEEK's example above, if a user eWEEK is connected
to via Google Social Search contacts searches for pizza on Google.com, he or
she should see a brief note under the Dominos Pizza search result indicating
that eWEEK has +1'd that result.
"We expect that these personalized annotations will
help sites stand out by showing users which search results are personally
relevant to them,"
Google software engineer Dave Byttow. "As a result, +1's could increase
both the quality and quantity of traffic to the sites people care about."
Google is slowly rolling out its +1 button in English on
Google.com, but users who don't see the +1 buttons next to results may opt-in
to test the feature via the experimental search site
Users need a Google Profile to participate in +1, and can
see all of the +1's they've clicked through their profile if they are logged
into their Google account. Users may check to see who they are connected to in the Social Circle and
Content section of the Google Dashboard
While +1s are currently limited to Google.com search
results and ads, Google envisions adding them to results for other Google
products, such as Google Apps. Google said
+1 won't be available for Google Apps such as Google Docs until it
implements support for Google Profiles.
In what could be more consequential news for the company,
Google will eventually offer the +1 button for third-party Websites.
+1 is a natural extension of Google's Social Search
efforts, which have hardly reaped a lot of value since their rollout more than
a year ago.
Google last month improved
this feature, which adds blog posts, reviews and other content from
searchers' contacts into search results, by mixing Social Search results
throughout results pages based on their relevance. This proved to be a prelude