Nerd Alert: Google Becomes Social, Gets a "Like" Button Called +1
Maybe Google's new feature is why Twitter is over capacity -- internet-folk be tweetin' the news to the far reaches of the universe (btw, did you see those pictures of Mercury? I'd +1 that). "The +1 button is shorthand for 'this is pretty cool' or 'you should check this out.'," according to the Google explanation of its new feature, announced today.
Here's how it works...
Google search results and ads will all have the option to "+1". If you find a link useful or worthwhile, pressing +1 will broadcast your acknowledgment to social networking "friends" and the internet at large.
With Google's previous upgrade, search results are highlighted and annotated when someone you're connected with on Twitter or Buzz shares the item, according to Google's Matt Cutts in Techcrunch. But +1 is a way to acknowledge a link's usefulness without sharing it on another social networking site.
For example, if you google a pasta recipe, and a friend +1'd it, that will show up next to the search result -- the same is true for shoes, sex toys, baby formula, lingerie, doctors, granola, and tampons -- anything you Google! By pushing +1, you must be comfortable broadcasting your support of a site to the world. So please, handle this with care.
Here's how Google will sync with your contacts, according to the New York Times:
Google will find people that users know through Gmail and chat contacts, as well as people users follow on Google Reader or Buzz. Later it will include contacts from other social sites like Twitter and Flickr. But it will not include contacts from Facebook, because Facebook information is not publicly shared on the Web, Mr. Cutts said.
It will be interesting to see if and how this feature effects SEO (Search Engine Optimization), by which websites are crafted for best possible Google results. Perhaps with +1, content will outweigh carefully crafted headlines in result rankings. Will we say buh-bye to SEO schemes like that of J.C. Penney? It's too early to tell, but this could be a step in the right direction.
And how about the name of this newfangled button -- 'tweeting' and 'liking' roll off the tongue but '+1-ing' is a cumbersome phrase. Perhaps this feature implies a solitary (though social) experience that rarely demands utterance. Then again, 'Googling' is a household word. We'll see if the terminology lasts -- or the feature itself for that matter. I think it's pretty cool, and the best part is that it's subtle enough not to be annoying. Please, share your thoughts in comments.
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