Google +1 – The Social Search

Earlier this week Google launched its 1 button and in doing so created an entirely new social aspect to online search which may revolutionize the way search and search engine optimization works.

What is it?

Similar to Facebook’s “Like” button or the Twitter “Re-Tweet,” Google’s 1 is a way you can tell the world that something was useful or beneficial to you. Google states “it’s basically like saying ‘this is pretty cool’ or ‘you should check this out.’”

How does it work?

Say you remember a friend of yours telling you about this great Vancouver restaurant they visited last weekend. You can’t remember the name so you go ahead and sign in to your Google account and create the usual Google search for “Vancouver Restaurants.” Google search will make the query and bring up your representative list of websites, the only difference being that you will now start to see a 1 beside any website or business that your Google contacts have recommended.

So sure enough there it is a 1 showing that your friend recommended Restaurant A. However, if you take a look at the menu and aren’t too fond of it, you can go back to the search and maybe discover that three of your other contacts all recommend Restaurant B. It brings a whole new aspect to word of mouth or word of mouse to the search process.

Why do I care?

As a consumer it’s simple. It gives you extra relevance in your search results

according to whether your friends or contacts have liked (or 1’d it). It provides social endorsement and so can build confidence in the searcher, allowing you to quickly and easily find whether particular search results are trusted and recommended by your Google contacts for whatever it is you may be looking for online.

How will this affect marketing?

From a marketing/advertising standpoint this will have a major effect on search engine optimization. Google uses an algorithm involving over 200 factors including various keywords, linking, site characteristics etc. These all determine where certain businesses, ads or websites are ranked on Google in relation to specific search terms. Google is the pioneer who will be the first to now add a social aspect to this algorithm. The added 1 feature will soon start to factor into the algorithm, and search results will be partially dependent on how many people have 1’d or recommended various sites from Google searches and Google ad words.

Still confused?

Watch this video which helps to explain exactly how the 1 tool will work.

The Bottom Line

Will this be Google’s attempt at “going social” which is the one that really catches on? Essentially this is a battle between Google and Facebook, and is another attempt by Google to gather more users and obtain more consumer data, in turn allowing them to create more targeted ads and therefore produce higher ad profits. However with Google Buzz and Hotpot, Google holds a fairly unimpressive track record at attempting to penetrate the social realm. So will 1 be the social tool that they need to help them compete with Facebook and others? We’d like to hear your opinion.

This entry was posted in The Agency and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.