Google Try To Clone Facebook Like Button With Google +1
Google have finally made one of the big moves in to social that we have been expecting for some time with the launch of their new +1 button today. The social element focuses in on their core product of search and as you can see from the video below it aims to improve your search results and pretty much copy the huge success and massive amounts of data that Facebook have had with their like button. So just how good is this new +1 button and how will it change what Google do?
This Is Not Social
The video tries to say that this is going to tell me what my friends like and what my social circle are thinking but there is one massive problem there because very few of my trusted social circle talk to me via Google or any of it platforms. Sure I use Gmail and Google Chat but that is mostly for work and about 5% of my real friends are on there. Google Reader contacts? Give me a break! So while this might be a huge shift in the way that Google is ranking it’s search results this is by no means a product that is going to help me connect with my social circle and see what they like.
This Is Only The First Step
In fairness to Google I do think this is probably only one of a series of steps that they are going to take. They do say themselves that
Soon we may also incorporate other signals, such as your connections on sites like Twitter, to ensure your recommendations are as relevant as possible
This implies that they are going to take this even further in the future and make it even more social which might be interesting.The big problem that I can see for them is that they are trying to ultimately link this back to Google Profiles where you will be expected to have social interactions with your friends but I’m just not sure people want that. Social powered search sure but another social network I am not sure.
This Will Work For Publishers
While this isn’t a great social product in my opinion this is a good product when it comes to content and how that content is ranked by humans. Look at the immense success of the Facebook like button and the Retweet button which we see on every site around the world. What we will now start seeing are +1 buttons appearing beside those sites as Google asks users to rank the content that appears on publishers sites and help shape the search results. The one big problem here is that the like button doesn’t have huge business effects yet and the Retweet button actually delivers a marginal amount of traffic. This +1 button is going to shape search results and given how important search results are for revenue to many companies around the world that is something that people will try and game. How will this influence industries like SEO for example and will people actually click the +1 button?
Defending Their Turf Or Innovating?
This is an interesting move by Google for sure and there can be little doubt that this is a direct response to the Facebook like button. I talked in the past how humans would be crucial to Google and improving their search and it’s interesting to see Google embrace this route as social has emerged. Is this innovation though? Remember innovation is what got Google to where it is today. This is a carbon copy of a Facebook feature and that tells me that Google is scared about their core product of search. They know the like button is a threat and they want to combat that and improve their own search results and make them more social before Bing and Facebook catch up.
So what do you think? Will +1 be a success?