+1 for Google

Google’s recently announcement of the +1 button was immediately faced with criticism across the web as it was quickly compared to Google’s earlier efforts into the social space with Buzz. The idea is simple, you can “+1″ a search result you like, much like you can Facebook “like” an article or post on the web. Still, despite the similarity in actions, the two are very different in purpose and function. Facebook is all about sharing and re-posting on their site. For Google, it’s about coming up with more relevant results.

Google's +1 Button

While Buzz has been considered a failure of sorts, Google’s new “+1″ might actually be a good idea, despite the choice in name. As good as Google’s search algorithm is, it’s still formulaic. Bringing a human element into search to help differentiate between a result that was SEO-optimized and one that is a result you’d actually want. Last night, I was trying to find how to get past a certain point in the video game Crysis 2. Typing “Crysis 2 Central Park” landed me tons of results about the game, but I had to go through several of them before I found the exact one I needed. If someone I knew had made a similar search and +1′ed a result, I might have been able to save myself time and effort. Just think about the searches that you normally make or that time you were trying to recall a certain video or website a friend had mentioned.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions when you hear the words “Google” “public” and “search results,” but keep in mind a few things. First, it’s opt-in. Second, Google isn’t publishing your searches; it’s just showing voluntary opt-in recommendations (you have to click it!) on search results.

There’s a lot more to see with this product and while there are legitimate privacy concerns, it’s also still a bit too early to harp on things, especially as few have even tried it out. My only pick with it – since one doesn’t usually know if the search result is good until after the click through, having the +1 on the result list might be tricky. Still, I for one am looking forward to this and hope that the promise truly does deliver.

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