Not too long ago, Google revealed their weapon against Facebook’s ‘Like’-button, the +1. The thought behind it is very simple; you recommend search results in Google with the click of a button.
This new social service has the potential to become huge. However, the question is: How many people will actually use it? You can only get recommendations from your network that also have and use a Google account, and let’s be honest here, how many people are actually signed into their Google account when they are using Google for searching? Until that question is answered, and we see a real number, can we start thinking about how great of a tool +1 really is.
Another issue with Google trying to “go social” is that they have never really gone behind search. Yes, they had an attempt at their own social network (if you don’t know about it, don’t worry – it tanked), and now they are giving it another go. Like I already said, they aren’t very social, and I believe it will be hard for Google to beat Facebook, or even become a threat to Facebook’s ‘Like’.
Think about this. How many people have a YouTube account? How many people have a Gmail account? Whatever number you can find, compare that with Facebook’s over 500 million members. Who do you think will be more prominent?
For something like the +1 to be successful, or even useful, it has to be used by a large crowd of people, and it needs to be used by a large variety of people. Chances are the people actually using the +1 functionality will be early adopters (no shock there), and therefore the information being +1 is going to be very niched. Google needs more people to sign up for an account with them, then they need to make sure people are signed in when conducting searches, and finally they need to encourage people to +1 the search results they find helpful.
I believe in the potential of this product, but I am skeptical it will have the breakthrough a lot of people are anticipating.