It’s officially time to say our goodbyes to a social network called Google Me. The Mountain View company unveiled a new feature called Google +1. In its company blog, Google explains that its +1 symbol shall become the Internet’s new code for “this is pretty cool” and will now show up in search results to let users recommend links and stories. Not social enough? Google further describes +1, saying that these recommendations will come from people you know, linking the feature to the long-described layered approach Google is taking with social. Of course, if you don’t have a significant amount of Google contacts (which will be generated from Gmail, Buzz, and Reader), don’t worry – you’ll see “how many people across the web have +1’d” something.
In short, Google sums it all up saying that “the beauty of +1’s is their relevance – you get the right recommendations (because they come from people who matter to you), at the right time (when are you are actually looking for information about that topic) and in the right format (your search results).”
Once a plethora of code names and over-published rumors regarding Google’s social project hit a fever pitch, we heard that the company had settled on something called +1. At the time, it was believed to be related to the new user profile pulldown beneath the toolbar (which Google denied) and that something called a “Loop” (which could be Google’s version of Facebook friends) would also have to do with the new feature. While it remains to be seen if all these elements will integrate to create the mystical Google social project, it certainly seems to a “layered” way to create some sort of networking for the site. What +1 will most importantly do, if successful, is encourage users to create Google Profiles, which were recently updated.
In an interview with Mashable, Google rep Jim Prosser made no secrets that this was a way to compete with Facebook – while also giving search results a more personal touch. And of course, this feature will not integrate with Facebook’s “closed system” but there is a possibility +1 could see some action from Twitter. As for sharing data with other social sites, Quora and Flickr are possibilities, “which Google considers ‘open web’ apps.”
+1 will begin rolling out over the next few months, or you can visit Google.com/experimental to get an early hands on. Also check out the video below for more.