Friday, April 01, 2011

Me +1

No, this post is not about you and a friend getting on the guest list of the hottest new nightspot in town, it is actually about the latest new feature from the ever experimental Google. Billed as a social interaction and recommendation feature +1, recommendation buttons are intended to be a way for someone to note an item as worthy of attention. The goal today is to enhance the search experience on Google by showing recommendations from friends in your social graph and possibly to extend that same courtesy to the rest of the world.

Its important to clarify that this is not social search. Social Search enhances your search results by including links or updates posted from connections within your social sphere. With the +1 button, you’re getting trusted recommendations from your friends rather than Google pulling in updates it believes to be relevant. This is a subtle difference, worth noting.

Yes, you’re already thinking this is just like a Facebook ‘Like’ button or the Twitter ‘Tweet’ button, and you’re right, except the roll out is limited to just Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) today. However, in the not too distant future, Google has its sights set on a broader roll out to enable any digital publisher to include a +1 button alongside their content.

Why is this even important to digital media publishers, you ask? The +1 feature becomes another key metric by which you will be able to measure and demonstrate the reach, engagement, and impact of your content. It doesn’t hurt that it is integrated with all of the capabilities of the worldwide leader in search. The one caveat important to note is that Google has not yet made +1 available for everyone. They currently require a user interested in this feature to jump through a couple of hoops.

The first is that you must set up a Google Profile, which is someone logical, because from your profile, Google can begin to attach your recommendations to your social graph. Once you have a Google profile in place, by jumping over one last hurdle of navigating to the Google Experimental site and ‘opting-in’ to the +1 experiment, you become a participant in what could become one of Google’s most interesting social experiments to date.

Watch the official Google +1 video (below) and let us know if you’re ready to get +1’d. Bada boom, bada bing!

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