Google +1 Review: A Deeper Look at the Google +1 Button


Google +1 Button Review

Just over two months ago Google announced their Google +1 Button, and yesterday they expanded on the offering by releasing the Google +1 Button for Websites. Having been signed up for the Google +1 service for a few weeks now, I thought I'd write a bit about my experiences using it so far. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found it to be that helpful.

Does Google +1 Even Work?

For starters, my understanding was that Google was going to roll out Google +1 data in their paid and organic search results in order to help get "Recommendations when you want them," as advertised on the Google +1 product page. Take a look at this screenshot:

Google +1 Recommendations

But what I’m seeing is that:

  • The +1 data doesn't get updated very often. 1,401 people have +1'd Facebook and it's been stuck at that number for nearly a month now. Really? Only 1,401 people in the whole world have +1’d Facebook (they have something like 500 million users). Even when I click the +1 button, the number doesn’t increment up the way that the Tweet, Digg or Linked-In buttons do. It just feels broken.
  • Very few Google SERPs or sponsored ads show +1 data. I did searches on the top 100 websites and almost none of them listed any Google +1 information in the search listings. I started searching on various popular searches and topics and found that it's generally pretty hard to find any listings that display any Google +1 information.

Jumping on the Google +1 Bandwagon

Here at WordStream, we’ll probably have to jump on the Google +1 Button bandwagon and add that new button to an increasingly crowded list of social media buttons on our blog. Heck why not, we used to even have a Google Buzz button if you can believe that. But I feel I’m mostly doing it because Google is bribing me by leading me to believe that this will somehow impact our SEO and PPC campaigns, and not as much because I’m excited about any particular features of the service. I just feel so dirty.

Why Google Gets Social Wrong

I spoke to my colleague, the wonderful Ms. Elisa Gabbert about her thoughts on the overall utility of Google + 1. She said that she kind of feels sorry for Google. It feels like a top-down vs. a bottom-up thing – what Google succeeds at, like search, they achieve by starting with techy people and it filters down. But for social stuff it seems like you have to start with young people, which Facebook did by launching their services initially in colleges, and Google doesn’t seem to be very good at targeting young people.

Will Google +1 Get More Exciting?

I recently saw screenshots of some new Google +1 features being worked on. They looked like more Google Webmaster Tools – for example, you will be able to see how many people +1’d different pages on your website, etc. It still feels more data-oriented than social-oriented. I’m not sure how these kinds of features are going to resonate with your average Web surfers.

What Are Your Thoughts about Google +1?

Are you currently using it? Will you be adding the Google +1 Button to your website? Have you been seeing Google +1 recommended paid/organic search results? Write your thoughts in the comments below.

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Justin Champion
Jun 02, 2011

While I agree with Elisa that Google is more data driven than social, I understand their need to enter social search. Lets face it, Google and Facebook have been going at it for awhile now and Google does not want to be left out to dry.

Whether or not this pans out for Google, you have to commend their effort on this. With the new +1 feature just launching yesterday, users are already responding to it. However, I don't think it'll ever be as powerful as Facebook's "like" button, being that it's more socially driven (but time will tell).

I'm not sure how concerned people are of being social on Google... that's what Facebook's for.

Larry Kim
Jun 02, 2011

I think google would be better off coming up with something truly interesting / unique in Social media rather than just copying stuff that you can already get with facebook.

Elisa Gabbert
Jun 02, 2011

Lisa Barone pointed out that you have to create a public Google profile for your +1's to show. Maybe that's why the numbers aren't moving - people have clicked the button but they don't have Google profiles.

Jun 02, 2011

I tested clicking the +1 button using a google login that had a public profile.

Elisa Gabbert
Jun 02, 2011

Guess it's just broken then!

Justin Champion
Jun 02, 2011

That's true. And a good point that Google doesn't get... Not everyone has a Google profile. C'mon Google.

Side note: for every +1 suggestion that you make it archives it on your Google Profile. This way you can use it as a bookmarking tool as well. Also, you can set it to private if you don't want to share your suggestions. weird, huh? Not very social if you ask me.

Larry Kim
Jun 02, 2011

saving bookmarks. nice feature.  Reminds me of delicious which was so 6 years ago. CMMON GOOGLE try something more original :P

Justin Champion
Jun 02, 2011

Haha, agreed!

basketball games
Jun 04, 2011

i think no one will be clicking on this buttons coz not all people have a google account.

Maneet Puri
Jun 06, 2011

Nice post. Haven't noticed the aspect you shared on Google'+1'being socially wrong. Well, I agree completely about what +1 is lacking. I personally believe that Google cannot beat Facebook like and no matter how hard twitter is trying with its new instant 'follow'button, its really hard to come to up to the competition level. The young and the children have liked the interactiveness of Facebook 'Like' and cannot leverage '+1' or 'Instant Follow' till the time they are not using it.

Jun 30, 2011

Its kind crazy that everyone is on 'social' - and Google also entered it. Its difficult to think that how many socials would a visitor do? One or max two - but not more than that. And those one or two space are well taken up by others. It would be bad policy on part of Google if it force associates +1 with search - that would only lead to rigged results.

Jun 30, 2011

I must first state that I have yet to score that elusive invite, but from what I've seen via friends who have been accepted I think its very good!

From the quick views (no actual hands on) I am very interested and this may be despite having a Facebook account I am not an avid user. What I like most so far is the easier/more visually appealing separation and categorization of friends (circles)and the integration of streams/links to topics that you are interested in all in one place (sparks), along with the more interactive sharing with friends (huddle).

I hope (am betting) it takes off, as I think there is enough people in this world for more than one or even two dominant social websites/hubs - just like in the search engine sphere - (competition is good) and that 'one size does not fit all'. The key is going to be in Google's execution, don't try to kill the competition just provide that difference (easily integrated with existing social/website portals), feature rich (exciting) and only what I want to share with whom experience portal (user control) = another great Google lead product.

Mark (ISPreview)
Jul 08, 2011

Yay yet another social media button for us webmasters to add to an already overcrowded array of similar solutions. The biggest problem with +1 is that it tries to open a new window by using a method that Microsoft's IE9 browser now seems to block by default.. ahh very clever.

Mummy Ninja
Jul 09, 2011

I think +1 will suffer the same fate as Google Wave. O_O

costa blanca
Mar 08, 2013

frankly, i think the same way

Resale Centre
Jul 14, 2011

Problem's that I see arising is how many "normal" internet users actually have a Google account? MSN still holds the market share for e-mail services, closely followed by Yahoo - which leads me to believe that maybe 20% would only have access to +1. And you need to log in to record the vote which is not going to be an accurate reading of voting. Plus there are already webrings popping up all over the place offering to exchange +1 votes. Can see this quickly going down the pan, and hope it does.

google +1 review
Jan 30, 2012

Yes!! i completely agree with LarryKim..Google is literally bribing us to use the +1 button as including this Google social button will impact the Search rankings.This search engine gaint has not succeeded in gaining the attention of youngsters as it was targetting webmasters rather than the fellow users.I hope it will atleast learn a lesson now and will rectify its mistakes 

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