Google has released their +1 button, an answer to the ubiquitous Facebook “Like” button.
As a publisher/advertiser, the attractiveness of Facebook’s Like-button is in the way it gets your communication into a user’s social feed. If enough people in my Facebook social circle like a page, it will probably show up in my news feed, and I may be tempted to check out what all the fuss is about. This is the core mechanism that makes something go viral on the social network. Google’s +1 button aims to do the same, but there’s a hitch.
Who exactly is my “Google friend”?
Facebook still gets a lot of flak for mixing up our various “friend” contexts; do I really want to have one place where I connect with family, friends, co-workers, or strangers I met at a party? But over time, individuals come to some sort of equilibrium about how they use Facebook. Google can’t say the same; at least, not yet.
The now-defunct Google Wave worked by pulling in all of our Gmail contacts, but as many of us have over a half decade of email history, this isn’t an accurate reflection of people whose opinions we trust. Herein lies the unanswered element of Google’s social platform – what is the context of my “friend” relationships?
And the elephant in the room … will the search algorithm change to reflect my individual social/usage history?