Stemming from Facebook’s popular “Like” button, the search engine colossus Google is joining the social fray once again.
Google’s new “+1” feature has just been introduced, and it’s quite exciting. Starting today, a small percentage of Googlers will see a +1 button next to search listings. If you aren’t seeing it and just can’t wait to try this new feature out for yourself, head over to Google Experiment and click “Join this experiment.”
With Google’s new tool, when you click the +1 button next to a search result, it will light up, basking in the glory of your approval.
Now, when you or a friend search a similar topic, they can see that you recommended certain results. And if your buddy recommended it, well, you’ll probably check it out, right? A +1'd result by a friend will look like this:
As you can see, your friend’s name is at the bottom of the result, proving how much they care about you and your search results. If a result has earned a lot of +1's, you’ll see how many people have recommended it, even if the people who +1'd it are not in your network.
It's a big step in search engine history because this kind of user input could really improve the quality of search results. (It remains to be seen how much of an impact this will have on rankings.)
Had a sudden change of heart? Did you decide maybe you don’t want to +1 Lando’s Laundromat down the street after a washer ate your quarters? You can undo your +1 as well (or, I suppose, -1) at any time by simply clicking “undo” under the result. Or you can log into your Google Account and see all the +1's you’ve created, with the option of removing them.
The new +1 doesn’t just stop at organic results, but applies to Google AdWords as well! Google says testing revealed that click-through rates on the +1 ads were higher.
Eventually, you’ll be able to put +1 buttons (just like Twitter and Facebook’s social sharing buttons) on your web pages. But we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that.
Bring on the era of the social search!