Late last week, Google unveiled something rather significant - something that will have a huge affect on search and social media as we know it. The Google+1 Button has arrived.
Facebook and Twitter have paved the way for Google's Social Layer
We've all seen how social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have revolutionised the online experience through their 'Like' and 'Retweet' buttons, and there's no doubt that a simple button of recommendation is what drives the social environment online.
Will Google+1 revolutionise the search industry?
Google is now ready to enter the sector with its own, eagerly anticipated button, and it's sure to be a success. Almost everyone uses Google, and so long as they integrate it seamlessly into the user experience (and it functions as expected), I'm sure we'll all question how we ever coped without Google+1.
Social links equate to more relevant results
You see, the search world has aspirations of becoming more social, and being social is all about having conversations with others and sharing thoughts and recommendations with friends and those who may have similar interests. If a search engine can harness those recommendations and base a site's ability to rank upon them, then that search engine has the ability to become extremely relevant.
Where does Google see this product going?
What a button such as this also does is allow for search results to become personalised. We made a big thing about personalised search results, as well as localised results some time ago, and we stand by our initial thoughts - this is certainly the way forward. Rob Spiro, project manager at Google, says 'Relevance is about relationships as well as words on webpages. That's why we recently started to include more information from people you know - stuff they've shared on Twitter, Flickr and other sites - in Google search results.' Spiro then explains, 'Say, for example, you're planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif. When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area. Or if you're looking for a new pasta recipe, we'll show you +1's from your culinary genius college roommate. And even if none of your friends are baristas or caffeine addicts, we may still show you how many people across the web have +1'd your local coffee shop.'
Of course, what this means is that a Google Account is a requirement before you can start making use of the +1 feature and whilst we think this Google product will be a success, it's important that the search giant treats this differently to its Buzz service, which was a major failure.