The web world has a serious case of trying to keep up with the Jones’, or rather the Zuckerberg. This week both Twitter and Google have launched features that mimic Facebook. The other day I mentioned Twitter’s new “Follow” button and since then Google have also launched their “Plus 1” button.
Google wants you to use the +1 in order to give your public vote of approval for a website, in a similar way that you may click the “Like” button for Facebook. Of course, while everyone and their Grandma’s Chihuahua has a Facebook account, not everyone is so used to using their Google account as a social tool. But for this to work, people will have to be logged in to their Google account so that when you click the +1 (see the button at the end of this post), Google can see who you are and keep track of your preferences. Google currently tries to show you who from your social circle has shared the websites on their search results pages, but you need to have connected your Google account to others like Twitter for that to work properly (and let’s face it, how many people know that you can even do that?!) so “+1” is probably a more direct way for them to actually own some social data about you. Web publishers will see the benefit, or actually the need, to adding the button in order to keep up in Google’s rankings. But will regular users understand how or why they should use or click this button? That remains to be seen.
What happens when you “+1” something?
A couple of things will happen based on your interaction with a “+1” button. Firstly, your friends that you are connected with via your Google Account, will start to see your ‘votes’ show up in search results, attributed to you. For example, “Lucy +1’d this” will appear in Google search results pages. Google thinks you want to see what your friends recommend, right there in the search results pages. I’m curious – do you? I don’t, but I tend to be a bit weird, so I’m not sure I represent popular opinion!
Secondly, it will affect how Google ranks websites. They will look at +1’s as signals of value and popularity, probably meaning that sites with lots of “+1s” will rank higher (more thoughts on this to follow in a separate post).
For now, if you are a web publisher you need to get yourself a button. It’s quite easy to install with some copy/paste code from Google here. Then head over to Yoast’s site to see how to integrate Google Analytics tracking on the button.
View Google’s video introducing +1:
So what’s your take on this? As a publisher and/or a regular Google user, do you think this feature will be useful? Do you care to see what your friends have voted for when you are Googling for something? Leave a comment!
*header image is part of a hilarious animated cartoon you can find at BLaugh