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Google Reveal +1 Social Layer

James Perrin

by James Perrin on 31st March 2011

Google announce their rival to the Facebook ‘like’ button with +1 (plus one). If you see something that you like, +1 it, it’s that simple.

The social evolution of Google continues with the announcement of +1. With social search creeping into SERPs, they have been looking for ways to expand  the influence friends have on the results we all see [See: Social Search: Google and Bing Announce Updates]; with the addition of plus one, a further (Google managed) social layer can be added to these results.

What is it?

With Google +1 you can share recommendations right from the off, with buttons featured on search pages – including AdWords adverts. If you see something that you like, you can recommend it by +1’ing a page or advert that you find useful. Once you have +1’d something, this will appear in Google’s SERPs. As a result, when someone performs a search for something, for example a restaurant, a bar, or a hotel, they can see how many have recommended it swiftly.

The recommendations are relevant too, that’s because they are made by the people who matter to you (friends and family), and are revealed at the time you want it to (when you perform a search). Sourced from Mashable, Jim Prosser, a Google representative explains, “People consult their friends and other contacts on decisions. It’s very easy and lightweight way to make search results more relevant.” As Google say, the web is a big place and we could all do with some help navigating it.

How do they do it?

Rob Spiro, Product Manager at Google, has revealed that they use signals to identify the most useful recommendations such as the people you are connected to through Google, and then they will start to incorporate other connections such as Twitter. This means that you need a Google profile to start +1’ing stuff, and you need to be logged into your Google account if you want to see your +1’s in your Google SERPs (which poses its own rather obvious issues).

To start off with, you will see +1’s appear alongside search results and adverts, however in time Google hope to incorporate the function onto websites and other Google products too. We won’t see the changes for a few months. But if you are interested in experimenting, you can at Google.com/experimental.

Unanswered Questions

Inevitably, a lot of questions are still unanswered. As Google say, they will look to integrate the +1 function with alternative Google products soon; however, how does this work with products such as Hotpot, Buzz or the rumoured Circles? Hotpot is effectively the same thing [see: Google Hotpot: Local search gets personal], so does +1’s emergence put Hotpot in the balance? Buzz certainly isn’t buzzing anymore, so has +1 put the final nail in its coffin?

With +1 you can recommend things in search and on paid adverts to start with, so does this mean it will have an effect on SEO and PPC? +1 could be awesome for advertisers, as Danny Sullivan reports, but it could also easily lend itself to spamming with paid +1’ing (as we explored last year in Facebook Like: Or, How to Spam the Socialsphere).

Clearly, we have a lot more to say on this subject, different angles will be looked at from various specialists in due course and as always we will share our thoughts along the way.

James Perrin

James Perrin

Content Marketing Manager, James Perrin is a regular contributor to the Koozai blog. Well experienced in sales and marketing, James also has a passion for journalism and media, especially new media. From the latest industry related new stories to copywriting advice, James will provide you with plenty of digital marketing information.

4 Comments

  • Samantha Noble

    Sam 1st April 2011

    My biggest concern over the +1 on AdWords ads is the fact that they say that it doesn’t your Quality Score but it does help to improve your CTR. CTR is the biggest factor that drives Quality Score, so indirectly the +1 will effect your Quality Score, which leaves this open to a lot of spam and abuse.

    Reply to this comment

  • whoisbid 2nd April 2011

    I agree with Sam that it is going to receive a lot of abuse. The “like” from Facebook does not really have any financial impact i.e. it is not tied to search engine popularity. So, to me the +1 looks like +$1

    Reply to this comment

  • James Perrin

    James 5th April 2011

    Thanks for your comments, the cynic in me thinks the same, as well as lot of other people. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Reply to this comment

  • Matt 6th April 2011

    I really do not think Google have thought out the implications for spammers using +1, so is this the beginning of their next big social idea, like buzz the whole thing will be doomed to fail

    Reply to this comment

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