Google’s Doing Social Again, Google +1 Review

Google +1 Icon

Those of us who have tried Google Buzz may cringe when we hear that Google is still trying to make this Social thing work. There may be many reasons for that, but one observation was that it wasn’t user-friendly. They just plopped it into our gMail accounts whether or not we wanted it, and made it difficult to disable. And even when you disabled it, somehow you still had a Buzz stream available for others to see.

It appears that they have learned somewhat from their mistakes. Their newest social product may be a bit more friendly. Google +1 was officially announced via Google’s Blog on March 30th, 2011.  It is slowly being rolled out to the public, but if you are anxious to try it out before it is rolled out to you, you still have the option to enable it as an experimental feature. Even when it is rolled out, it seems that you need an active Google Profile in order to use it. Google Profiles isn’t new, but they have been slowly shape-shifting it over the past few months, and now it very closely resembles a Facebook profile page, minus the Wall, and minus the notifications of wandering cows.

When I first heard about Google +1, I immediately thought about the “Like” button.  From what I am reading from other sources I’m not the only one who thinks this.  After all, it’s hard not to equate the well-known Facebook “Like” button that tells all of your friends what you like and helps Facebook know what to advertise to you, with a button by Google called “+1” that tells all of your friends what you like and helps Google know what to advertise to you.  But, there are a few things that set the Google +1 apart from its apparent cousin.

  • First of all, the Google +1 show up right in your search results.  You don’t have to leave Google and go to a profile to see that your friend has +1’d it (but that is an option as well).
  • Also, When a friend +1’s something, it doesn’t notify you right away.  This way, you’re not receiving a bunch of spammed notices about every little thing that your friend likes whether or not you care.  You will only see this +1 in one of two ways:  You can visit your friends Google Profile and look at their +1 tab to see everything they have +1’d, or if your Google search results happen to have one of their +1’s in it.  Now, whether or not this +1’d link moves higher in your search results has not been made clear to me yet, but it would make sense if that were the case.
  • All of your +1’s are right on your profile for you to manage.  If you decide that you don’t want to recommend a site anymore, you can find it on your +1 tab and un-Plus-One it.  Now, I’m not saying that you can’t un-Like items on Facebook, but it seems to be not as easy to find everything you have Liked over time.

Being a fan of Google, I want the +1 button to succeed, just as I wanted Buzz and Wave to succeed.  However, Google’s success doesn’t hinge on my wishes alone; as always, success is determined by many factors, and Google has missed a few of those factors in past social networking tools.  The only way to really find out if this will succeed or not is to wait and see.  In my opinion, I believe they have correctly implemented Google +1.   Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on Google +1.

For an in-depth how-to guide on setting up Google +1, head on over this helpful post at Business Insider.

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