1 May 2011

Google's +1 button: the perfect feature for sharing and upvoting web content

In late March 2011, Google again came out with a new feature for search and other Google products - the +1 button. Google says their goal is to give web users "...the most relevant results as quickly as possible." In their own words:
"But relevance is about relationships as well as words on webpages. That’s why we recently started to include more information from people you know—stuff they’ve shared on Twitter, Flickr and other sites—in Google search results.

Today we’re taking that a step further, enabling you to share recommendations with the world right in Google’s search results. It’s called +1—the digital shorthand for “this is pretty cool.” To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful. These +1’s will then start appearing in Google’s search results
."In practical terms, this is what it is all about:

Fig 1: The +1 button will appear next to each search result
Fig 1: The +1 button will appear next to each search result

Fig 2: After pressing the +1 button, you have the option to undo the action immediately
Fig 2: After pressing the +1 button, you have the option to undo the action immediately

A Typical Practical Application:
Say, for example, you’re planning a trip to Tahoe, California. When you do a search for lodging in Tahoe, you may see a +1 from your aunt (or other family member or friend) who had visited Tahoe, next to the result for a lodge in that area. Even if none of your family or friends are tourist addicts, Google may still show you how many people across the web have +1’d good local lodges.

An example search result is as shown below:

Google adds that, "The beauty of +1’s is their relevance - you get the right recommendations (because they come from people who matter to you), at the right time (when you are actually looking for information about that topic) and in the right format (your search results)."

For more information about +1, watch the video here entitled: Introducing the +1 Button.

How Does Google Do It?
So how does Google know which +1’s to show you? Like social search, Google uses many signals to identify the most useful recommendations, including things like the people you are already connected to through Google (e.g. your chat buddies and contacts). Other signals, like your connections on sites like Twitter, are also being worked on. These all ensure that your recommendations are as relevant as possible.

How To Get Started
To get started +1’ing the stuff you like: first create a Google profile - or if you already have one, upgrade it. You can then use your profile to see all of your +1’s in one place, and delete those you no longer want to recommend. To see +1’s in your Google search results you’ll need to be logged into your Google Account.

To know who you're connected to, and how, visit the “Social Circle and Content” section of the Google Dashboard.

Google notes that "...initially, +1’s will appear alongside search results and ads," but that later on "...they’ll appear in many more places (including other Google products and sites across the web)."

RELATED: How +1 button improves AdSense performance

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