The Google+1 feature is an innovation by Google that focuses on sharing website content and recommendations to social connections through Gmail or Gtalk chat lists, Google Contacts, Google+ and other Google platforms that has a social networking capability.
It streamlines content and search results to give you the most relevant websites based on recommendations or +1 from your contacts.
It can be compared to its predecessor – Google Buzz. Unlike Google Buzz however, the +1 feature does not aim to start conversations and discussions about the content, it just simply recommends and encourages users to visit a certain website or webpage.
The +1 feature is akin to Facebook’s “Like” or Digg’s “Digg It” button. Not only will your Google social connections see your online activities and favorites, the content will also show how many people “+1’d” which can help you in sifting through search results by going with the more popular sites or the sites with most +1’s.
Google+1 is also a way to show your contacts that you like something that you saw on the internet and that they should go and check it out too.
A website, an article, information and even advertisements and Google search results can be +1’d. In order to +1 content, you first need a Google account. As long as your chosen content, advertisement or website has a +1 button, you’ll be able to recommend and promote it to your Google contacts by clicking on it.
Google’s +1’s ability to recommend a specific search result or advertisement sets it apart from other social bookmarking and website recommendation platforms. The benefits of this feature will be discussed in the next chapters.
It will also increase a website’s search ranking depending on how many +1’s it receives, complementing its relevance to a user’s search topic.
This feature is also a way for Google to respond to website and topic searches by presenting the websites that your contacts have seen and recommended before other available websites of the same topic.
Your +1’d content will be visible to your social networks on Google once they log in to their own Google accounts. They can access your +1 list through your profile, activity stream, and the +1 tab on Google+ or when they make a relevant Google search.
Google search results can also show the number of users that has +1’d a website or advertisement. Depending on a user’s security settings, the names and profile photo thumbnails of the people who +1’d the content may be visible as well as long as they are in your social network.
Google recently released html/css codes that would allow web owners, developers and designers to install the distinctly simple white +1 button on their sites.
When clicked, the +1 button turns blue and the website link and snippet would automatically be posted on your Google stream. Add-ons for web browsers like Firefox and Chrome are available to make the experience more convenient.
In keeping with Google’s simple yet effective personality, the +1 feature operates silently yet efficiently, building a website’s popularity based on recommendations by social connections.
Although websites are only beginning to jump into the +1 bandwagon, the benefits are slowly and steadily becoming more evident and will continue to be beneficial to more websites in the future.
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