The proclaimed nemesis of the Facebook ‘Like button’ has finally arrived. Google has released the +1 button for websites. Since its launch in March publishers have been eager to use the +1 button on their websites. During the Google I/O conference, last month, the company had promised that the content sharing button from Google would be made available soon.
As we have already reported, the +1 button would work in the same principle as Facebook Like button, allowing users to recommend content to their friends. The only edge that Google has over Facebook is that the recommendations made using the +1 buttons on websites would be in sync with the recommendations made for the same URL on Google search results. This would make Google search results even more social by showing your recommendations to your friends and contacts.
Google has done a smart job by keeping the look and feel of the +1 button similar to that of the others that can be found on most websites. This allows a publisher to easily setup this new button along with the existing ones using the code that can be generated from the simple tool that Google has created. The tool allows you to pick the shape and size of the button which comes with a counter and recommends the URL of page it is placed on. To remove the counter or recommend a custom URL, you have to visit the ‘Advanced Options‘ link.
Although the +1 button is open for grabs, the initial websites which would be sporting this new jewel are the other products of Google like Android Market, Blogger, Product Search and YouTube. Google has also partnered with some of the leading publishers across different genres to give its button the exposure and publicity it deserves. The partner list includes — AddThis, Mashable, The Huffington Post, Rotten Tomatoes, TechCrunch, Bloomberg, Reuters, The Washington Post, Best Buy, O’Reilly and Nordstrom.
The news of the launch of the +1 button is not as surprising as it should have been as TechCrunch had already spilled the beans yesterday with their report that +1 button is coming the day after. What is surprising is the final statement of the blog announcing today’s launch, where Google quietly mentions that the +1 button would be a decisive factor in making, “search results even more helpful and relevant.” Although much details have not been revealed on how Google plans to weigh the +1 count to decide search results, this is one factor that would hurt Facebook a lot.
Before today’s announcement if someone would have asked me if the Google +1 button could overtake the Facebook Like button, I would not have been able to give a definite answer. But, with the announcement that the +1 button would also decide search ranking, we don’t doubt the fact that it wont be long before the +1 button has a much larger presence across the web, compared to the Like button. Although social media brings in a lot of referral traffic to websites the real leads still come from search, which is synonymous to Google.
Moreover, it is just a matter of time before Google launches its much anticipated social product. Once that happens, the +1 button would not only add value by bringing referral social traffic but also leads through search engines. The only way Facebook can avert this is by further integrating its social data with Bing to produce better search results and by placing the Like button beside the results produced by the search engine from Microsoft. The rivalry is brewing. The months ahead are going to be tense.