Google Goes Social With Plus One
Today’s announcement from Google HQ about a new service named +1, was another clear signal that the search giant is looking to incorporate a social media aspect into its product. The new +1 feature is strikingly similar to Facebook’s “Like” function, and allows users to give a virtual “thumbs up”, or recommendation to their favorite websites or products.
Although many have already tipped this feature to be a failure, Google does have the advantage of being able to plug +1 straight into their world dominating search engine. listings.
The idea being that the more “+1’s” a site has the more popular and trusted it is. This will certainly be motivation enough for webmasters to incorporate a +1 button into their sites, and should give Google the proof they need to justify a worldwide rollout of the service.
Trends do suggest that social proof is becoming more important than ever when it comes to getting your websites ranked, and this will be yet another way for users to suggest useful sites and information to their friends as well as the wider web community, just as they do with the Facebook “Like”, and the Twitter “Tweet” functions.
There are a couple of things that may go against Google in their quest to compete with the social might of Facebook. Their first foray into the world of social networking came in the form of their “Buzz” service, which was trialled and then dropped faster than an elephant jumping from a plane.
Many industry experts are now wary of any move that Google make into the social arena, and the second thing that could threaten the new +1 feature is the possibility of manipulation by unscrupulous webmasters trying to better their rankings.
There is certainly potential for this new social feature, but how users and webmasters take to it is something Google will have to wait nervously to find out. For now Mark Zuckerberg can probably sleep easy.
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