On Monday, March 28th, Google introduced the long-awaited Google +1 button. The product launch page at the Google Webmaster Central blog states that +1 is an “easy way for Google users to recommend your content right from the search results pages.”
For a company that has a daunting task – to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible – Google appears to now believe that the innumerable search space options that are returned from search requests may actually benefit from a little “friendly” assistance outside of their much-touted and highly-relevant search algorithm.
What is the Google +1 Button feature?
First off, +1’s are public voting buttons similar to Facebook’s “LIKE” button. For the initial launch they can appear in Google search results and on search ads. Eventually a website button will be rolled out to webmasters. If you would like for Google to email you when this feature becomes available, click the image below:
How is it expected to improve search selections for users – as well as give product and site marketers an advantage in their competitive arenas?
This is an interesting question. Many have already speculated Google +1 will be another flop; however, considering they are involving search results this time, (and making in an opt in feature) Google may have found a winning recipe.
In competitive arenas, search results are very competitive. If testing and studies show that +1 button clicks do improve Google search rankings, then Google is going to have a flood of fake profiles and low cost labor outsourcing teams developing fake +1 clicks. Everyone assumes, Google has already considered this, so it will be interesting to see how well Google can scrub bad data from +1 button spam.
What does it give back to Google?
If the +1 button is adopted by a large audience, Google will be able to collect this data in aggregate to help improve their natural organic rankings. With +1 buttons on PPC ads, the potential for Adwords quality scores to be effected by the +1 button exists.
Note: Google will likely not care about you as an individual. Your friends care what you think, but Google cares about what the mass audience thinks in aggregate.
These questions are, as yet, not fully explained by either Google or those in the search marketing industry who are – at the time of this posting – enthusiastically +1-ing all of their favorite sites and managed ads.
Google +1 is a relatively young product, as far as development is concerned. The rumors about the Google +1 button only date back to last December when MG Siegler at Techcrunch obtained screenshots of what was believed to be a beta Google +1 “toolbar” that actually resided atop Google apps.
Note: The launch version of the Google +1 feature is not a toolbar, rather a button that sits next to the page preview magnifying glass at the right side of the title to each of the displayed search results and sponsored ads.
Is Google Trying To Compete with Facebook?
Google appears to think that +1 is merely a search enhancement feature for those who have already established a Google Account. The product release press doesn’t specifically say that +1 is a direct foray back into the social game, but the statements leading up to the launch certainly address that notion. In fact, at the time that Techcrunch went live with their leaked +1 beta images, they also posted an official statement from Google which said “We’re always experimenting with new ways to improve our products, and we have already confirmed that we are focused on incorporating social elements across Google.”
Any business model benefits from continuous process and product improvement. And Google, large and savvy as they may be, also benefits from revisiting the drawing board from time to time and making adjustments to their products and services. Certainly, Google will benefit from marking up the drawing board a bit more regularly, if they are to stay relevant in the social game.
Most will remember that Google Buzz – a Google social networking and messaging tool – was directly integrated into the company’s web-based e-mail program and caused uproar from users (and subsequent lawsuits) when it was discovered that the default privacy settings shared user contact information. Oddly enough, Google settled the Federal Trade Commission claims on March 30th (one day after the +1 button debuted).
In all, it appears that Google simply launched… a button.
This little enhancement serves to help users find more of what their friends recommend in similar searches (restaurants, articles, products, household goods, etc.) and guides buying decisions. From a search marketing perspective, this is where the rubber meets the road. Those in the web marketing industry are trying to figure out how to best squeeze Google +1 for as much juice as they can get out of the search enhancement feature.
Lastly, it might be of interest to state that if this is how Google intends to add social elements to their products and services, they may have a tough go at the job. Time will only tell if the +1 button is received as well as the Facebook “Like” button or the same offering from Twitter. And if the +1 button doesn’t work, some say that it may be time for Google to rest on their core competencies and be glad that they are the top internet services company in the known universe.
To “opt in” for the Google +1 button, follow these simple directions:
1. Log in to Google (or create an account).
2. Follow the link to the Google Experimental Labs page.
3. Click “Join this experiment” where you see the +1 button product listing.
Once you opt in, you’ll always be able to see your own +1’s in a new tab created on your Google Profile, and if you want, you can share this tab with the world
P.S. Don’t Forget to +1 the Rank Fuse Interactive site after you sign up!