Google has got social, with the release of a button to allow its new +1 function to be added to websites.
Since its launch in March, +1 has let those signed into their Google profile endorse search results and share their recommendations with their social networks. Now, users will be able to recommend content directly from websites with the +1 button.
Google is billing +1 as a tool to help it provide more relevant results to its users. From a consumer viewpoint, its benefits are clear – but what does its launch mean for brands?
With +1 playing a role in determining organic rankings and users only likely to +1 something they feel is worth recommending, its launch will serve as a reminder to companies of the importance of maintaining a regular stream of engaging and relevant content on their websites.
The +1 button will also be a welcome addition to the measurement toolbox, serving as an up-to-the-minute barometer of a brand’s online reputation.
The function is, of course, not without its limitations. A user’s public Google profile is not always synonymous with its true social network and, as stressed on Social Media B2B, this is particularly the case for companies trying to communicate with a B2B audience. For these brands, the launch of other sharing buttons – such as LinkedIn’s last November – may have been a more significant development.
With +1 seen as a direct competitor to Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, it will be interesting to see which social networks users begin to favour when sharing content. +1 may offer a similar functionality to that of its rivals but, with its impact on search, it has the potential to be even more powerful.