A couple of months ago, Google introduced a new feature to their search results and ads. Google +1 is an attempt to bring a social component to searching. Here’s how it works. When you are signed into your Google account, your search results will have a +1 icon next to each link. If you like a particular result, you can click the +1 to give your recommendation – similar to the Like button on Facebook. Likewise, as your Google social connections (chat buddies and contacts) make their +1 recommendations, you will be able to see which links they prefer. The thinking is that this will help you cut through the clutter of the search results. For example if, I’m looking for a place to go for lunch and notice that a foodie friend of mine gave a restaurant a +1, I’d be more likely to click on that restaurant’s link.
As the slow roll-out continues, we’ll see how well this tool works. It will all depend on how many people take the time to create a profile (if they don’t already have one) and how many of those people will then take the time to log-in before they do their search. It’s not a huge extra step but people aren’t accustomed to signing in before they start their search.
This kind of sharing seems a bit more natural on a social network like Facebook. You are already interacting with your friends on Facebook, so it’s natural to share products, shows, etc. that you like within that forum. During a Google search, I wouldn’t even know if a result is worth recommending until I’ve already left the search results page and visited the site in question. Am I then going to go back to the results page to click the +1 icon? I don’t know about you, but I am unlikely to do so.
If you are too impatient to wait for this to be fully integrated, you can visit Google’s Experimental Labs and test the “+1 button” feature. Let us know what you think. Is this something you would actively use during your search?
Theresa Russell is Director of Promotions at The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the email or RSS links above. Visit our website TheRadioAgency.com