Google sees +1 as a nice, new ad revenue stream. Paired with Google's ad networks, it could make more money than Facebook Like.
Google March 30 launched its long-awaited, supposed Facebook-flaming +1
button to the world as an experimental feature, with a slow rollout coming as
the search engine tunes and tweaks the feature.
+1 is best thought of as simply Google's version of Facebook's Like
button, the social network's recommendation
engine. Users will click
the +1 next to each search result or ad on Google.com, and
+1s will start appearing next to each selected search or ad result in
Don't think of +1 as a bid to beat
Facebook so much as a way for
Google to glom onto Facebook's passion for forging digital ads paired with
social recommendations, which is a super smart move by Google, albeit with some
The good news is the service is easy. Users literally just click the +1 when
they like a search result for a car, restaurant or ads to recommend these
products to users. No mess, no fuss.
The bad news is that users who want to generate +1s need a Google Profile,
the ad-hoc social graph builder Google set up two years ago to begin applying
social services to its products.
This requires Google users, who are accustomed to coming to Google.com to
search and flit away, to leave more information about themselves, similar to
the way they already do on Facebook. Profiles users enter their name, work info
if they prefer, interests and links to other Websites.
Profiles is how Google's Social Search
links users to their friends, surfacing
content created or shared by Google's linked Gmail and Chat users, as well as
users from Twitter or Quora.
"It's a continuation of search becoming more personalized and relevant
to you," Altimeter Group founder Charlene Li told eWEEK. "The biggest
problem is that Google excludes the biggest social network, Facebook, so you're
limited to who is in your Google address book/Chat list and Twitter."
The problem is that there is absolutely no indication that enough people are
using Profiles the way they feed content to and suck content from Facebook.
Google doesn't disclose the number of Profile users it has, but even it is
in the tens of millions, it's still just a fraction of its massive, unparalleled
search base of 1 billion users. How can Google get more searchers setting up
Profiles to engage in sharing via +1?
As IDC analyst Hadley Reynolds told
eWEEK, Google continually runs up against a chicken and egg problem every time
it tries another socially driven product or feature.