Why Google + 1 May Predict Our Future
Immediately after Google +1 was announced, journalists were quick to either attack or laud the company’s initiative. Those unimpressed with
+1 reminded readers of the company’s history of failed social media products; criticized the product’s lack of innovation and sophisticated functionality, while noting its prosaic purpose; and/or raised concerns about consumer privacy infringements. While Google +1 is rightfully compared to Facebook’s “Like” button, there’s a considerable gap between Google’s utility as a tool to enhance productivity, and Facebook…which pretty much does the opposite. For this reason, the overall consensus among critics was that while Google may excel as a search engine, its corporate culture isn’t capable of creating and sustaining social networks.
Alternatively, optimists argue that as a Web traffic officer, +1 has the ability to make a significant impact on consumer decisions, mainly because it uniquely offers one-to-one connections, rather than one-to-many or many-to-many connections. Google most certainly made a great case for +1. According to the company’s blog post, “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 you are actually looking for information about that topic), and in the right format (your search results), or that this is a necessary move in order to maintain its position with advertisers.”
While I may not be rushing to update my Google profile, this product is significant of the growing importance that marketing professionals are placing on social media tools. While fear and trepidation may still permeate industry executives, Google has made its social media initiatives a critical component of its budget and strategy. New products change the field of technology frequently and instantly. Google’s breakthrough was in recognizing that social signals can effectively organize the Web, and now it’s hoping that +1 will add a more accurate and personalized approach to funneling content.
What is important to me about +1 is whether or not the company will actually be able to pull it off, and how. The evolution of +1 will either be a case study in how company’s can expand their offerings to match market realities, or that innovations will only be sustainable if you focus your efforts on doing what you already do best.