There has been a lot of chatter lately about Google+, their newest social network project, and the Google +1 button. Many of the features of both have been built to specifically address short comings of Facebook, and to integrate social behaviors into search results. After watching Google Buzz and Wave come and go so quickly, should anyone bother with this one? Without buying into ALL of the hype, I say yes. This might finally be where it all comes together for Google. Only time will tell, but this is MUCH more promising than their previous efforts.
Google+ has a lot of positives for users. The most immediate is that it makes it easy to put your friends, family, acquaintances and co-workers into nice neat little buckets called circles. As a user, this makes it less likely that you'll overshare, whereas it is very easy to forget to tweak your privacy settings on Facebook. Yay for you, boo for your mom. The mobile app feels seamless so far, which is a nice change from other social networks as well.
The Google +1 button is similar to the Facebook Like button, with one massive difference - +1 will affect how search engine rankings are managed and optimized on a grand scale.Google envisions +1 as the tool that ties together all user-endorsed content across the web. Whether you +1 something in search results or a photo that your friend took of his dog and uploaded to Google+, you’re contributing to your personal version of Google’s search algorithm, meaning that content may eventually be served to you differently based on your +1 behaviors. Whoa!
While special business profiles will not be available until later this year, it is easy to see that there will be huge possibilities to companies, advertisers, and online retailers. A study has found that Google's +1 button is now more common than Twitter's tweet button on the home pages of the 10,000 largest sites. In fact, the +1 button is now on 4.4% of those sites' front pages -- a 33% increase from a month ago.
This is just our first blush look at the new toys Google is providing, and there is a LOT more information to come to understand just how everything will work together. We will continue to experiment with the new platform, and report our experiences here, from the horrid to the remarkable.