Google's Latest Foray into Social: +1 Button

By Lauren Sleeper As many can attest, Google's attempts at going social have not always been welcomed with open arms.  First there was the Google Wave, now essentially in "retirement," and then came along Google Buzz, which was met with significant resistance by G-Mail users.  The search giant's latest move into the social space seems to be more in sync with what Google is most synonymous with - search.

According to Google, the +1 button is "shorthand for 'this is pretty cool' or 'you should check this out.'" If you are using this feature publicly, every time you click the +1 you are essentially lending that link (specifically that item, location, movie etc.) your "stamp of approval."  All of the links that you deem +1 worthy will then be displayed in search to your friends and contacts when their search terms align with what you +1'ed.

To get started with the +1 button, you must first create a public Google profile.  This profile will be visible to anyone, and easily discoverable to connections who have your email address.  As you browse the web and +1 links, all of your selections will automatically be stored in a separate tab on your Google profile. You have the choice to either keep your +1's public for anyone to find or maintain your private collection of +1's for your own use.

The premise behind the button appears to be very similar to Facebook's "like," and also the driving force behind "like" ads.  The like button allows you to share what you like with your friends not only on Facebook, but now across the web with the implementation of the like button outside the social network. When a Facebook user comes across a "like" ad that a connection has already liked, they are more apt to click through and check that ad's page out.  Simple fact is, people are interested in what their friends like and recommend.  Recommendations from friends are more valuable to individuals than a standard advertisement or search result, whether that recommendation was received in a conversation, or now online.  With the +1 button, Google is now translating that friend's recommendation, or Facebook "like," to search.  To quote Google's promotion video, "the web is a big place, and it helps to have a tour guide."  The +1 button allows the people you trust the most, your friends and contacts, to be those guides.

What do you think about the +1 button - will it perform better than Google's last attempts at social?  Have you started using it yourself yet?  What is your opinion on the similarity between the +1 button and Facebook's "like" button? Share with us!