There’s no denying that Google’s social efforts to date have been nothing short of disastrous.
Remember Google Buzz? No, neither does anyone else. Probably best that way.
But finally, in it’s effort to break in to the social space, Google may have created something that may actually be of interest.
Meet Google +1.
In a nutshell, +1 allows you to endorse websites by clicking a button displayed next to sites listed in your SERP. You will also, in turn, see sites endorsed (+1’d) by your friends and others.
It’s a way of flagging sites you deem as interesting, like a virtual “hey, check this out”.
Google explained, “Sometimes it’s easier to find exactly what you’re looking for when someone you know already found it. Get recommendations for the things that interest you, right when you want them, in your search results.”
Once you begin +1-ing, your sites are stored in a tab in you Google profile. These can then be organised and shared or kept private, much like many popular social bookmaking sites.
Google hasn’t made any official statement in regards to if and how +1 will affect search results, but wording on the +1 page suggests that it might favour ‘popular’ sites – “Your +1’s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.”
So it’s not just your friend’s +1’s you’ll be seeing, it’s the most popular +1’s from around the web.
Although it’s too early to speculate, this would imply that heavily +1’d content will be rewarded in organic search rankings.
+1 is undoubtedly comparable to the Facebook like button, which lets users’ share external content with their friends on Facebook. The Like button has proven itself as a successful marketing tool and is now common place on many webpages.
Google has also hinted at a publisher button, that you could embed on your web pages much in the same way as the Facebook like button.
Same concept, one big difference – Facebook Likes do not influence Google rankings.
We think Google could be on to something good here and we’ll be waiting in anticipation as +1 is rolled out web-wide.
If you’re not seeing +1 in your results page, be aware that you must be logged in to your Google account to access it. To try +1, head to www.google.com/experimental.