The New Social Proof Button
That Everyone’s Talking About…
The Google +1 Button!
Google has jumped back into the social foray with the arrival of its newest contender in the social world..
The Google +1 Button!
Now though, the code has been publicly available for about a week and WordPress plugins are beginning to become stable so it’s time to delve into this new little toy!
Installing the Google +1 Button
The all-important code required to add it to websites is available here. Fortunately for most WordPress users however, lots of share button plugins exist. You will now find support for the G+ buttons built into most of your socials haring buttons including Digg Digg, Flares and Shareaholic and more.
Enabling Google Analytics Tracking For +1 Activity
For those savvy enough to modify a custom function, Yoast has a tutorial on how to hand Google Analytics the useful bit of info: http://yoast.com/plus-one-google-analytics/
How Google +1 Functions
Think of a +1 as a way to help you sort through the 5 million results that search just returned and find a post that one of your friends felt was relevant and valuable! +1 is short hand for “that rocks” or “this post is awesome”
There was a popup after clicking that seems to have gone away today. Also originally you could not remove your +1 if you changed your mind but now you easily can either by re-clicking the button or by removing it from the +1 tab of your Google Profile.Like the Facebook Like button, they may be configured to display personalization to the visitor:
The Google Social Network
What do you get when you take personal profiles plus social proof plus activity and bundle it all together? You get a social network. (Sort of) Did Google just invent a new social network? Now… they just forced you to use theirs (if your a site owner and interested in your search results).
In order to take part in the +1 buttons you must have a valid public Google Profile, which connects to your Google Buzz account. Not just a email address… but a true social profile. (While the new +1 tab on your Google Profile can be hidden, your pluses will continue to show in the search results.) In fact, all Google Profiles that have not been made public are scheduled for deletion on July 31st.
Google has already said that +1’s will be used as a social signal to influence SERP (search engine) results and because of their integration with Google Profiles which have already been shown to rank higher or lower based on “completeness” because they are “more trusted”, many users are feeling uncomfortable that they are being asked to put a large amount of their personally identifiable information out in the open to attain good search results.
The +1 Button FAQ is a great source for information relating to the button, installing it, its functionality etc.
Why I’m happy…
This button provides a lot more functionality than the buzz button while enabling bloggers, marketers, friends and more to assist each others search placement while also ensuring that their OWN search results show lots of useful stuff from blogs they trust. Win/Win situations rock.
Why I’m dubious…
First of all, Google has three strikes of fail at all of its prior attempts to create a valid social network. At this point they’ve not proven they have a clue. (That is Wave, Buzz & Orkut in case you’re wondering)
Second, while this keeps them OUT of the privacy scandals that Facebook is full of (because Facebook isn’t private either), holding our search placement over our head to coerce us into revealing publicly identifiable information out on the open web where any stalker might easily amass too much information too quickly just reeks of both desperation and bullying. (Although honestly, most of what is asked for, I already have visible all over the place, so it’s not that big of an issue for me.)
Third… and here’s the kicker… if you are not in the blogging niche, IM niche, SEO niche, or a geek that might enjoy sharing other technical docs with their coworkers… there is ZERO reason to click this button! It has little use to the average person who, when they want their friend Susan to check out this new cake recipe would rather click the FB share button and have it posted to her close pocket of friends on Facebook. Somewhere, the cart got put before the horse.
Share buttons are usually a natural PRODUCT of a healthy social network… not the creator of them.
Install the buttons, set up your Google Profile, use the buttons, help your friends by clicking them and hope that Google has more cards up it’s sleeve for this concept that it has not revealed yet. Don’t however let them replace Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social platforms on which YOU are established. Don’t however delay as there is likely to be a lot of “first mover” improvements for those that start building pluses before their competition.
I hope this post helps you get a clearer picture of what is going on in the realm of the fun new Google Plus One button. As you can see, its not quite all the peaches and ponies that some have said… yet at the same time there is a lot of power here.
I look forward to your comments below and to comparing notes on what impact you feel this button will have particularly as it relates to YOUR target audience. Thanks in advance for your tweets, likes, shares, and PLUSES!
Your Partner In Online Success
Want to see MY Recommendations in your search results?
Connect with me on Google Buzz by visiting my profile, http://profiles.google.com/kimjcastleberry/ clicking on the “Buzz” tab, and then clicking on the Follow Kimberly button. (Unlike the magic Google button in my sidebar, which I’d LOVE for you to click, this will not add my CONTENT to your search until I have +1’d all of it.)
Published June 6th, 2011, Updated July 21st 2014