Google’s +1

You can like it; you can tweet it; you can digg it. Now you can +1 it. Google’s answer to the ubiquitous thumbs-up icon from Facebook, the +1 seeks to leverage the social media revolution. According  to Google, which will place the feature on their ads and search results, the +1 is designed to help social networkers draw on the opinions and expertise of friends. How does it work?

When Google launches this feature, you will find the +1 icon. When you +1 it (which Google is hoping to make the new “like”), the button will turn blue, and then the icon will be added to your +1’s tab on your profile. You can even “manage” your +1’s and decide which you want displayed publically. If you opt not to share publically, though, be aware that your +1 can appear anonymously; an example would be an aggregated count of people who also +1’d.

So why is this useful? Say you are looking for recipes for potato soup. There are thousands online; when you see a +1 from a contact, though, it helps you narrow them down. It’s like getting a personal recommendation. And when you +1 something, you are acknowledging that you found it useful.

Google will sync your contacts by finding people you know through Gmail and chat. They also plan on including contacts from Twitter and Flickr, as well as other public sites. Facebook, Matt Cutts reminds us, is not shared publicly on the web, so contacts won’t be synched from there.

As the feature rolls out, it will be interesting to see if results are weighted based on +1’s. And it will be interesting to see how we say this: do we plus one? Are we plus oneing? Plussing one?

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