Is Google’s +1 Actually a Negative?
We all know that Google is trying hard to get into the social media game. Ever since 2009 when it became painfully aware that traditional search was lacking in the areas where social networks were shining ( real time and situational queries), Google has wanted a piece of the pie.
They launched “Real Time Search” and “Results From your Social Circle” almost two years ago. Both products have evolved and if you’re signed into your Google Account when your searching, relevant results from your networks now appear in your search results just as a regular search result would. But Google wants more.
There are two attempts at social media that have been flops as of late: Google Wave and Google Buzz. Does anyone remember those? Google’s already stopped supporting Google Wave, which was supposed to be a real-time collaboration tool. Buzz debuted and had a lot of angry people due to some privacy issues (that were quickly rectified). Still, are there people actually using Buzz? I removed Buzz from my Gmail eons ago.
Ultimately, Google wants to have what Facebook has.
Enter the Google +1 button, announced on March 30: “Use the +1 button to publicly show what you like, agree with, or recommend on the web. The +1 button can appear in a variety of places, both on Google and on sites across the web.” Sounds an awful lot like the Facebook “Like” doesn’t it? It’s still not available to everyone just yet, but if you have a Google Account (a gmail address or an email address associated with a Google account) you can sign up to have that little blue +1 button show up next to each one of your search results.
Of course I was interested in signing up and seeing what it’s all about. But honestlyI haven’t used it, not even once. It doesn’t make sense for me to click on a link in a SERP and then back out of it to get back to the SERP and click on that +1 button. Because more often than not, you can’t give a site you haven’t visited before an endorsement. Google will be introducing a + button for websites, but I don’t want to “like” websites in search results. I want to like things that my friends say, pictures they upload, and links they share. I really don’t need to give everything on the web a social signal. It doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t think I’m the only one.
Obviously Google is going to use the signals they receive about their websites and incorporate them into their algorithm to better determine rankings (oh looky, 200 people +1′d this website, it must be good). Are people really going to use it though? Is Google trying too hard to get social when they should just stick with what they started out doing (providing relevant results for searches)? What do you guys think?
Postscript: If Google +1 does take off, I hope that people +1 websites about credit card processing and. But come on, saying “Ooh, I just plus-oned that site!” just sounds ridiculous.
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