The Problem With Google +1

Filed as Editorial on April 1, 2011 10:40 pm

Google recently introduced a new add-on to search results called +1. It’s not groundbreaking but it’s relevant and it’s not complicated but it’s too simple. Google +1 has its problems.

The problem with Google +1 is the entire implementation. Search and social have had an odd relationship: sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. This is one of the cases where Google’s treading the social waters with a tool that’s useful for a small subset of users.

Google relies on your friends searching for content and sifting through search results marking it with a +1 for their approval. The problem is your friend’s interests may not align with yours and their ratings may be buried in result that you’ll never see. More importantly, why would you wait to stumble upon your friend’s recommendations on sites or content they dug up through searches?

Social networks have excelled at promoting the best content found by users whereas Google wants to take the social aspect and apply it to search. This leads to rating and reviews being forgotten for days, weeks and months instead of being promoted as they become relevant. Despite the usefulness and good intentions of +1, i’d rather consult friends about their thoughts and ask their knowledge instead of hoping to find their recommendations by chance.

Google may have an interesting relationship with search and social in the coming months. One of its more social savvy features is promoting content pulled from your online friends on Buzz and Twitter that’s relevant to your search. Right now I don’t see Google +1 having a dramatic impact on the social sphere and I doubt its potential. It lacks speed and its usefulness is being squandered by a lack of sharing or cross promotion between friends.

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