Google has showed, on the first day of this year’s I/O event, that they have no end of surprises up their sleeve. We noticed an announcement on Twitter today that Google’s +1 button will be available to publishers in the coming weeks, and to “stay tuned”. We venture the speculation that Google has big plans for the +1 button, and that it will be a significant competitor to Facebook’s “Like” button, but Google will likely want to differentiate +1 from Facebook.
One difference is that +1 right now is focused on search results. You can +1 a search result or an ad to recommend it. But Google has said before now that they plan to expand it around the web. This is confirmed by Google’s tweet today, seen above. Google is also planning on making some major Chrome announcements at I/O, and likely +1 will be connected to that.
One objection to Facebook’s “Like” button is that it makes you take a position on a topic. Sometimes you don’t like something, but you press the “Like” button because you want to share it. Facebook has rolled out a “Send” button to try and remedy this situation. But +1 feels like much less of a judgement than “Like”, and that may be a point in favor of Google. In the video below, Google says that +1 is a way of telling your friends that something is “pretty cool”, or “you should check this out”. And also to help people judge the value of search results.
We expect to hear more about +1 tomorrow at Google I/O. We’ll keep you informed.