free html hit counter +1: Google Figures Out a Way To Leverage Search. | John Battelle's Search Blog

+1: Google Figures Out a Way To Leverage Search.

By - March 30, 2011

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Google today did something smart in social – they offered a human way to do something they had already offered – the ability to indicate your approval of a search result. Previously, you could push a result up or down, but that action was not social in nature. Now you can “+1″ a search result, so as to indicate the result was good and/or valuable to you. That recommendation is then translated to others in your social graph.

Cool! But I sure wish it integrated with Twitter, at the very least. And man, it’d sure be powerful if it worked with Facebook. Wouldn’t it, now?! But from what I can tell, that will NEVER happen.

Instead, “+1″ is going to become Google’s version of the “Like” button from Facebook – the post is very direct about this:

But the +1 button isn’t just for search results. We’re working on a +1 button that you can put on your pages too, making it easy for people to recommend your content on Google search without leaving your site.

Because it’s directly tied to Google’s most powerful asset, search, I think this move has some serious legs. Site owners will want to put the button on their site – even if they have no idea how or even *if* those “+1s” will aid ranking in organic Google search. I can tell you this: Spammers will have a field day with this one, though I imagine the button will be gated in some way (perhaps to push it, you have to be logged into a Google account). In any case, it’s a smart way to leverage Google’s core strength.

Game on.

(BTW, over at Boing Boing, we’ve used “+1″ as a way to indicate agreement in email threads for years, a remnant of older email systems long since forgotten. That practice is alive and well at FM as well. Funny how Google picked up on the same notation.)

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  • http://www.jawaya.com Charlie

    We’ve been working on something much deeper around people rating pages.

    What I don’t get is exactly how I’m supposed to rank a page in search results if I haven’t been there before. One I’m at the page, I’m very unlikely to go back to the results and click a button.

    But they can get past that.

  • Stephanie

    “+1″ is also in heavy use in the comments sections at Gawker.

  • http://twitter.com/JBGuru Jeremy Brown

    +1 has been used in comment threads and forums all over the web for a long, long time.

  • JC

    John, you mention that this is directly tied to Search, but how so? To me, it fundamentally goes against the purpose of Search, which is to seek information. Why would any average person (not talking about brand loyalists/advocates/etc.) +1 a search result/ad PRIOR to landing on a page? It would be equivalent to someone writing a positive review of a restaurant prior to eating the food.

  • http://battellemedia.com John

    It’s another signal Google can use – if someone is “liking” and sharing search results…

  • Lawrence Merritt

    here’s my 0.02 pennies worth;

    the problem with google is that it’s packed full of like minded geeks who are designed to perfect the known. unfortunately innovation doesn’t happen this way. innovation is about imperfectly seizing the unknown and at this google sucks. their approach is to mvt everything into oblivion which means incrementalism is their god. but nothing truly amazing or transformational in the history of the world ever happened by being so linear (just ask steve jobs).

    so this makes google the world’s greatest follower at everything they do. their approach is for some other guy to disrupt and create the new paradigm. they then come in with their engineering might to do ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ might be) faster, cheaper or for less.

    so google is an invention free zone. over the last ten years they’ve acquired 94 companies and yet what do they have to show for this? even by attempting to slice and dice their own gene pool and improve their bench strength with outside talent they have failed to score anywhere outside of search. this tells us their culture is entrenched and quasi impenetrable. but they need to find this balance between iq and eq and develop an emotional intelligence to act as the counter weight to all that data crack.

    they need to become a company that is able to pivot between science and art. no where is this more evidenced than in the area of social; only google would attempt to deconstruct and atomise social into a number. are they attempting to launch their own genome project and quantify every possible human emotion on a sliding scale of 1-100? +1 is v1 to be followed by +2 and so on. no, +1 is a metaphor that highlights their issues and the difference between them and say apple, facebook; while google speaks the language of science, facebook with ‘like’ and the graph speaks the language of emotion. emotion is the god particle that defines social. but at left brain centric google, emotion is anti-matter.