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.