I'll admit that when Google unveiled the +1 button back in March of this year I was dissappointed. Where was the rest of it, I wondered. What about the Emerald Sea social network I'd heard so much about?
Obviously, that came to pass in June, but for nearly 4 months before that, all I had were these crappy +1 buttons that didn't make sense to me.
Sure, I got the idea. Click +1 on search results or ads we approved of to "recommend" them to users, but without context, who cares? Searching to me is such an isolated endeavor.
I use the +1 button to broadcast my blog post and eWEEK stories on Google, hopefully reaching more followers than I do with Facebook shares and likes, or Twitter shares.
But Google just launched something that could make it easier for people to rally around recommendations: the +1 button for Google's vast database of images.
That's right. Users can hover over images they like and click the +1 button to recommend them to users. Of course, just as with regular text search results, simply +1ing something might not be useful.
But Google presented a solid scenario where users can crowdsource recommended pics. Say you and a group of buddies wants to brave a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.
You and your friends can search for images of some of the mountain's peaks and recommend them by mousing over pics and clicking the +1 button:
Those results will be annotated in search results for Kilimanjaro images going forward.
You and your friends will see pictures tagged with their friends' names, or also tagged "you" to signal photos you've personally tagged:
How does Google know you and your friends are friends and that it should aggregate all of your pictures together? You signalled as such by being logged into your Google Account and by owning a Google Profile, which links users by identification.
Indeed, image +1's will appear in the +1 tab of users' profiles, where they can see all of their recommendations in one place and delete them:
This Google+ 1 button for images has the potential to be a bigger social network for pictures than Flickr. But social circles have to start using it first.