If you have a Gmail account, you may have
noticed a strange little square containing a “+1”
next to your Google search results in recent weeks. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you may have heard whispers of “Google +1” and thought “okay, I’ll bite: what does Google +1 equal?” Fortunately, Google +1 isn’t a secret code or a complicated equation.
Google +1 is Google’s version of the Facebook “Like” button. Similar to the Facebook “Like” button, you can grab code from Google to put a “+1” button on your website. Also similar to Facebook, you must have a public profile on Google+ (www.plus.google.com) in order to use the Google +1 feature.
Here’s how it works: once you’ve created your public profile on Google+, you will begin seeing little “+1” buttons next to all your Google search results. If you particularly approve of a result and want everyone to know, click the “+1” button. Now, whenever one of your Google + contacts runs across the same search result, they will see that you have given that result your +1 seal of approval. So while the whole set-up does have the same flavor as what Facebook has been doing for a while, Google’s approach has the potential to allow you to share your favorite bits of the entire searchable internet universe – as long as your friends and family are signed up too.
- Takes the bandwagon concept to a whole new level. Now the page owner doesn’t have to have installed a “Like” button for you to show your approval; Google does it for you on every search result.
- +1 buttons can also be manually installed on your website for even more +1 exposure
- You can control which of your “social connections” sees your +1s, and which of theirs you see
- Clean, uncluttered user interface
- You must sign up for yet another social account, one that by necessity is mostly public. If you’re not logged into a Google+1 account, the +1 buttons are not visible.
- Any information you provide for the “About Me” section of your Google+ profile is public
- Once you +1 something, you can’t hide or “un+” it.
- Some concern has been expressed about the possibility of splitting your approval results between Facebook “Likes” and Google +1s.
Conclusion: If you don’t mind pretty much anyone and everyone having access to your profile and +1 opinions, Google+1 is a cool toy and an interesting alternative to Facebook. Whether +1 will ever reach the level of integration that Facebook has attained, only time will tell.