Google has finally dipped its toe into the Social world with the introduction of their new +1 button.
This follows several forays into the social world after product launches, and mothballing’s such what happened to Google Wave. The social element focuses in on their core product – search, and in my opinion will need some additional work to make it truly social.
The biggest issue I can see is that Google ask you to +1 a site before you actually visit the result, as your often taken away from your search results when your click on a result. This means you either give a site a +1 prior to visiting it, or you have to hit the back button in fact, a -1 button may have been more appropriate as you only need to go back to your results when the result you clicked is no good. This is different to a like on Facebook, as a Facebook user is often monitoring their wall for posts, a post comes along which they visit, which will generally open in a new window, and once they have read the article they are back on their Facebook wall with the ability to like the link they visited.
But Google are not just looking to use the +1 button, as I recently found out whilst conducting a search – as you will see on the below image there appears to be the inclusion of links shared on Twitter.
This implies that they are going to take this even further in the future and make it even more social which might be interesting. I would surmise that Google are going to incorporate this in some way to your Google Profile.
So the big question is, will this work for publishers and website owners?
Well in my opinion this isn’t a great social product, but in terms of search and avoiding spam and content farms it may help Google to rank websites better, and if the Twitter links remain it may be even better.
Googles decision to include the +1 button is most probably based on the immense success of the Facebook “like” button and the Retweet button which we see on almost every site around the web nowadays.
So with Facebook’s “like” button and Twitters “Retweet” button in mind, I believe it will only be a matter of time till we start seeing “+1 buttons” appearing besides articles and content as Google asks users to rank the content that appears on publishers sites and help shape the search results.
The one big problem here is that Facebooks “like” button doesn’t have huge effect on your business yet, whilst a Retweet on Twitter can actually delivers a marginal amount of traffic. The +1 button is going to shape search results and given how important search results are for revenue to many companies around the world that is something that people will try and game. And a quick scan of the SEO forums already indicates that SEO bods are already looking at ways to farm it!
I think overall, this is an interesting move from Google, and there is little doubt that this is in direct response to the Facebook “like button”. It will be interesting to see how this pans out, and whether it will have a big impact on web rankings.