Last week across the web, search marketers were in a flurry, care of a new Google innovation. Google has introduced the concept of “+1″ to their search results, allowing you to +1 a site in the search results if you like it.
Which begs the question – who is going to ‘like’ a site, before they have even clicked on a link? Surely you won’t know you like the site, or won’t know it is relevant to your search until you have been to the page. And if you are already off the search results onto the site, will you be bothered clicking back to the search results and re-doing it all, just for a +1?
It doesn’t seem to fit in well with people’s search habits.
The Usability of it seems all off to me. It seems like Google should have first allowed a button to be added to a web page for +1, and shown those votes in the search results (which obviously has a whole other raft of problems).
The aim of +1 seems kind of good – letting your search results be influenced by people in your social network, ostensibly a group of people you trust. Which might beg this question; which social network? Cause they sure aren’t talking about Facebook. They are talking about your Google Account, and from what I have seen today, potentially an influence from Twitter.
My problem with the ‘social’ aspect of it is that limited social connections of mine are joined to me through Google (poor Google). The people that I am joined to through Google are mostly work colleagues, suppliers, providers, etc. Google Wave and Buzz just did not take off in my circles, and I doubt any one of my friends is going to join up to Google accounts to try +1.
Not enough of my network have a Google account.
And for those that do, e.g. the professional and business connections, Do you like what they like? Do you value the same things?
Do you trust these people to influence your search results?
I think a social network is useful for finding things out – I ask things on Facebook, Twitter and forums – I am just not sure I want people influencing my decisions before I even have a chance to ask them.
Finally, while there has been much support for +1, and saying how it will be very difficult to game – people are still going to try, and to maintain integrity, Google is going to have to ‘police’ it. Which will take up resources.
I would rather Google concentrate on fighting spam in results than fighting +1 scams.
Over the last couple of years, Google has been trying to break into social (of course they want to, it is massive), with Wave, Buzz and now +1. Meanwhile, I have been hearing more and more complaints about Google’s search results getting more and more full of Spam.
While this innovation is ostensibly a search innovation, it is touted as being ‘social’. I think Google needs to back up and concentrate on search again for a while.