The Internet is becoming a more open, social experience by the second. The companies and organizations that are having the most success are the ones experimenting within this open space to discover new ways to connect users and customers.
We live in a society, after all, and most of us greatly value the social experiences we have on a daily basis. We like collecting and sharing opinions, we like learning about new things and we like bragging about those new things.
Enter Google and its +1 idea. It’s very, very, very similar to the magical Facebook “Like” button in that it serves as an indication of approval in the most basic sense.
On Wednesday, Google announced that it would begin testing the +1 button. The feature is only available to users logged in to their Google profiles or Gmail accounts. It includes a little animated button that can be clicked as it lights up when users float over a particular search result. Should a user so desire, he or she can click the +1 button and the result will be indexed higher when linked friends perform similar searches.
The search results blessed with a +1 will be indexed and saved in the user’s specific Google profile tab, too, making recall of a favourite website or online destination easy.
Don’t be fooled into think that the +1 results are private and only available to a user’s connections, however. No, Google’s +1 experiment makes all of the +1 results appear in anyone’s search results. So when Joe User seeks out adult entertainment of a, say, clown-based variety, Joe’d better watch out if he hits the knee-slapping search result with the +1 stamp of approval.
Users can opt in to the +1 experiment by heading to Google Labs to enable the feature. Right now, the plan is to roll this out slowly to see how well it’s adopted. The last thing Google needs is another Buzz-sized disaster, after all, and they’ll certainly want to make sure that they’ve covered all of the pertinent privacy bases before broadly introducing the +1 feature. But for now, it seems like an interesting experiment.