Goodbye Shaq, Hello Google's New +1 Button Feature

By Justin Champion | Jun 2, 2011
More Articles by Justin

We’ve all seen Google’s +1 button floating around the web allowing signed-in Google users to recommend content that they deem useful and share it with their friends and contacts. And up until yesterday the +1 button was only offered on search results pages, but now Google has taken the social plunge even further and offers the +1 button to web pages.

With the +1 button’s new accessibility, users can suggest a page while they are still on it. It definitely makes sense — how do you know you want to promote a page if you have not seen it yet?

For example, when I heard that Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement from the NBA via Twitter yesterday, I needed to learn more.

After performing the search query “shaq announces retirement via twitter,” I was brought up with a list of stories covering the event:

Shaq's Retirement SERPs

Instead of just suggesting the story on the search results page, I thought I might take a gander first.

Shaq Announces Retirement Via Twitter

After reading how “Shaqosaurus” (adding to his endless list of nicknames) notified his followers on Twitter with an insider video blurb from TOUT, a real-time social video update service, I checked the Google +1 button and gave it my blue badge of approval.

So just as before, when someone whom I am contact with on Google searches for this news, they will see how I recommended this article from Mashable and may give it a view themselves. Ah, the power of social search!

Google +1 vote

Because this new +1 option applies to the URL of the page the user is on, you will need to compose small snippets of JavaScript to place on the pages where you want your +1 button to appear. Also, there are different styles to choose from so you are not stuck with just one option. This way you can customize it to your site.

If you want to be strategic and ensure that your pages with the +1 feature reaches SERPs as much as possible, Google has some recommendations on how to make this happen.

I’m curious to see how this new rating system pans out for Google.

While I understand Google’s need to enter social search, where do they fit in? Will users embrace it? What are your thoughts?


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  • sarah

    Im not sure i get how this works. When you rate a page are you just saying that you like it or are you able to leave a comment as to why?

    Im not sure how useful this will be.

  • Justin Champion

    Hey Sarah,

    Think of Google’s +1 feature as a Facebook “Like” button, it’s really just used as a vote of popularity (saying that you like this page). By clicking Google’s +1 button not only are you saying this information is useful, but all of your friends and contacts will see that you recommended it. However, you are not able to leave a comment.

    With social media and social search on the rise, Google is just trying to tap in. Think, if you were searching for something on Google and you saw someone that you knew recommend a page, would you be more willing to go to it?

    The major downside is that you have to have a Google Profile page. This is something a lot of people don’t understand, therefore Google’s not truly maximizing on it.

    I agree with you, I’m not sure how well an analytical search engine will do with trying to be social. After all, that’s what Facebook is for.

  • sarah

    Thanks for clearing this up for me – we shall see if it’s popularity catches on but Facebook definitely has the upper hand :)

    • Justin Champion

      No problem.