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15 Apr 2011

What do Wickedweb think about Google+1?

by Josh Hales

Google’s new ‘+1’ feature is the latest attempt at making search more social.  The basic idea is very similar to the Facebook ‘like’ button – when you like something, in this case a search result; you click the Google +1 button.  This is then visible to all your friends connected to you via your Google account. The benefit comes when you are searching for let’s say a new camera; you go to Google, type ‘digital cameras’ and click search.  As you are scrolling through the results you notice the +1 button next to dpreview.com because, for example, your photographer friend +1’d it previously.

 Google+1

Apart from the obvious benefit of having users +1 your site, if +1 catches on it would be inevitable that Google would include +1 as a ranking factor, however the question is if it catches on.

In essence I think +1 could be a really useful feature, when I am researching a product or looking for information on a particular subject it would be great to see what my friends recommend.  But my friends are not in the mindset for promoting, removing, starring or +1ing results when using Google – they just want to get to where they are going.  This has been the critical flaw in all the Google voting / result editing offerings, people don’t want to edit results, they want Google to do that for them.

Google have a shocking history when it comes to social search, remember Buzz and Wave? No? Well not surprising considering their short and uneventful lives.  We also had SearchWiki which allowed us to promote, comment on and remove results, there was also SideWiki and then stars in search for marking your favourite results – all of which have flopped.

So will Google +1 succeed and become a part of how we search?  In short, I don’t think so.  Google should stick to what it does best, providing unrivalled web search - sharing, bookmarking, voting and social features are best left to Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious and the like.


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