With +1, Google Search Goes Truly Social — As Do Google Ads
Back in early December of last year, we first reported that Google was toying around with the name “+1″ for an upcoming social product. At the time, we were told it was sort of like Google’s version of the “like” or “retweet” button. Today it officially launches as a way to share Google Search results that you like with your friends — and also Google Ads.
To be clear, the version of +1 which is beginning to roll out today is not the toolbar version that we first got a glimpse of in December, that’s apparently a different version that was being tested. This version of +1 actually launching is a small button that will reside next to each and every Google Search result. If you like the result, you click the +1 button and it gets shared with your social circle — and the public (more on that in a bit).
The button also works on the ads that appear in Google Search. If you like those and think they can be useful to friends, you can also hit the button there to highlight them. That may sound like something no one would ever do, but the implementation is actually pretty smart. You see, since the pages linked to in Google ads also appear in Google’s regular index, if that page as ever been +1′d as a regular result, it will also show up as +1′d in the ad.
But let’s take a step back for a second. Google +1 is an extension of what Google has been doing for a while with Social Search, Google’s Matt Cutts tells us. In their most recent update to that feature, results were surfaced and highlighted when someone in your social circle shared something on a social network, like Twitter or Buzz. “People really like this aspect of social search,” Cutts says.
At the same time, the current social mechanisms require some work to be useful — you have to explicitly share a link somewhere. You might not want to do that with every link you like. And that’s where the +1 button comes in, it’s a simple way to indicate you like a page and think it might be useful to others. Again, sort of like a “like” button.
Cutts wants to be very clear that this +1 data is public. While a big aspect of +1 is sharing results with your social graph, it is also about using that data in aggregate to highlight better results for everyone. For example, on a result that has been +1′d, you’ll see if any of your friends have +1′d it (in a similar way to the current Social Search look with people’s tiny profile icons under the result itself). But you’ll also see that X number of other people that aren’t in your social circle +1′d it as well.
This also ties directly into Google’s push to make all Google Profiles public. If you’ve upgraded to the new Google Profile, you will have a new +1 tab that will keep track of all the results you’ve clicked the button for. From here you can easily remove any result as well if you no longer want to publicly indicate that you like it. And when you’re adding +1 to your profile (it will be opt-in at first), you’ll notice that there’s a check box to opt-out of using your +1 information to “personalize content and ads across the web.”
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