Just over a month ago, Google Chrome UK showed off how the +1 button will look in the Chrome browser in a TV ad.
The +1 button acts exactly as the Like button on Facebook, permitting users to share and recommend content that they have enjoyed.
Slowly but surely we are seeing more websites add the +1 to their site, but it doesn’t appear yet that any particularly notable and positive results are being seen if the US search engine fora and blogosphere are anything to go by.
By now many people are beginning to ‘settle’ into their social networks and have found the network(s) of choice for the way they work, socialise and share. So they are already faced with tweet, Like on Facebook, Digg and so on when they find content they wish to share and they know which place they wish to share it to and who with. An additional choice may simply be plus one too many, and it is apparent from visiting pages where the +1 button is deployed that far fewer people click that than the FB Like button, Tweet or even, depending on audience, the Share on Linkedin Button.
It may also be that people are unsure how it all works, and are somewhat bewildered with the complex choices that a 2011 browser now offers. From watching a variety of users recently, it would seem that the vast majority do not use much of the functionality built into browsers, beyond the basics.
There is also an issue that for anyone who has not already enabled +1 in their public profile, the rest of the +1 world is still invisible in the search results; although it is visible just as the counts for “Likes” and “Tweet This” buttons are on content.
This lack of profile within the search results is not going to make it a simple task to educate users into its usage as many will remain ignorant of it. Until it is on as many pieces of content as possible, as the Facebook Like button is, for all to see, it is unlikely to see mass uptake.
It would also seem that there is a minor issue with load time if the +1 code is placed at the top of an article or near the top of the page. Undoubtedly, Google are working on this, but we all know that users have become ever more impatient over the years with pages that do not load immediately.
So, one could ask if the +1 button has arrived late at the party with so much other competition around ….or is it just that it is still only available on google.com searches that is slowing down its adoption?
It is likely that, as ever, Google has far more tricks up its sleeve to do with social networking than just the +1 button, and perhaps in future, the +1 will become a more commonly used tool for searchers than it would seem to be today.
Our advice: add a +1 button to your content and let’s see what happens when it hits google.co.uk. Watch this space.