A new Google feature called +1 has been introduced to make search more social in a similar way to the ‘like’ button on social networking site Facebook does.
The +1 will add a button to each page displayed in a search result that allows users to recommend that page. Users will not only be able to see how many ‘likes’ something has, they will see if any of their friends have liked the site.
In its blog, Google said: “The beauty of +1’s is their relevance – you get the right recommendations (because they come from people who matter to you), at the right time (when you are actually looking for information about that topic) and in the right format (your search results).”
To ensure the most valuable recommendations, Google searches for +1’s from sources like users’ chat buddies and contacts. There are even plans to incorporate Twitter followers and other social circle data into the system.
Google also plans to promote its +1 technology on sites themselves. These new votes could become an important part of any companies search engine optimisation strategy.
SEO specialist Greenlight, however, said the success of +1 could depend on Google finding a strong partnership or making a significant acquisition, like Twitter.
Adam Bunn, director of SEO, said as a brand Google had failed to capture the imagination of many and was seen as functional rather than recreational.
“Google can’t afford to limp in with this +1 approach, given its track history with failing at social,” he said. “However, were Google to buy Twitter that would perhaps make Google more exciting on the social front and +1 suddenly more disruptive. Greenlight will be interested to see just how this will fit into some wider strategy.”
They will undoubtedly affect search ranking, making them just as important as page views. +1 will also be rolled out for advertisements and individual products.
This will help advertisers and sales teams track the effectiveness of their spending and get instant feedback from customers. The name +1 comes from the digital shorthand meaning “pretty cool”, and if early indications are correct, this new social search will defiantly be +1.