You click on stuff that your friends like. It’s a simple enough fact, but it’s tremendously important. It’s the insight behind the Facebook “like” button, wherein you can share with your social network what links interest you. And it’s the insight behind a new feature launched by Google today, something it’s calling +1.
In a blog post today, Google explained how it was building on its recent decision to include information in your searches about whether your friends liked a given link (shared it on Twitter, for example). With +1, which Google’s Rob Spiro calls “the digital shorthand for ‘this is pretty cool,'” anyone with a Google account can now opt in to publicly endorsing websites they like.
Google introduced the new feature with a video. The web is a big place, it explains, and we could all use some friendly pointers to help us navigate it.
+1, of course, continues a longstanding tradition of the social web: the desecration of the English language. Now, on top of “friending” people and @mentioning them, we will now “plus one” things, as in, “Hey, did you see that great article on Fast Company?” “Oh yeah, I plus one’d that yesterday.”
If you want to get on board with plus-one’ing things ASAP, go to Google Experimental Labs, here. Be aware that anything you click is public–shared with everyone in your social circle, as determined by Google (essentially, for now, your Google Contacts–people you chat and email with–though Google has suggested it may add Twitter contacts and others soon).
+1’s aren’t broadcast across Twitter or Facebook, it seems–rather, they’ll pop up when your friends conduct Google searches. They’ll also appear next to ads, and soon, on other Google-affiliated pages. Says Google: “Initially, +1’s will appear alongside search results and ads, but in the
weeks ahead they’ll appear in many more places (including other Google
products and sites across the web).”