Tuesday, April 5, 2011

One up or one down?

Social Search, without a Social Network - Technology Review
What challenges does Google's +1 face? TNWGoogle
Why Google's +1 is not the social web TNW Social Media
What Google's +1 Means for Facebook

Lately, my RSS reader is crowded with posts about Google's new attempt to enter the fields of social media and Facebook. It's called "+1" and it's actually a button next to each search result form Google. Once you click on it Google knows that you recommend that result for others. It's more or less... Google's "Like" button. This means, that once you've set up a Google profile you can show your friends (also having a Google profile) what you like, while you are searching in the web.

To be honest out of my almost 200 contacts (in Gmail) there are only half a dozen of them with Google profliles that I am connected to. In addition, when I joined Facebook I didn't have to register yet for another email account and everything else that comes with Google's profile. I just did it for the networking without any additional burden (such an email account). Same goes with LinkedIn and other social networks.

So, first of all, Google needs to seperate its goals. If you are building a social network then do just that! And then offer the option to connect it with everything else. As for example in Youtube. When they acquired Youtube they didn't oblige anyone to turn their accounts to Google (they are doing it now after some year of buiding the user network).

After reading so many articles and trying the feature myself I thought. Well... since there are only 5 people I know that are going to see what I "+1"ed what's the point? Let's just hit the Like or  Share button instead! I can see the point in Google's movement since advertising in social media is turning into a major player in the ad industry. However, I have my doubts if "1+" is going to work. They 've tried the social thing before with Buzz and Wave and it failed. Trying to force users to come to your network especially when you don't have that critical mass that Facebook does is quite difficult.

I think they need to lure us into it. Show us the "1+" button (and relevant stats like how many people liked a page) without having to subscribe to Google for starters. And then, when people actually start to use it in their everyday searches... throw in the candy. It could be Search results personalization according to your network, or seeing what your friends are prefering or... whatever. Don't just tell us..."It's going to be great but you have to sign up" make us WANT to sign up. Make it necessary for us.

So.. what't it going to be... "+1" or "-1"?

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