With the launch of Google Plus, the search engine giant sent a clear message to the world how it felt about the ever evolving social landscape. It was evident for some time Google was using social indicators and social metrics in its search algorithm to determine ranking.
With the inclusion of its initial +1 metric in its analytics and its focus on improving content as well as user experience with its algorithmic update Panda, Google clearly set its sights on social.
The Google Plus project just announced the addition of additional features to the Google +1 button. It expanded the ability to indicate your like for a sight by clicking its +1 button to include the ability to directly annotate and share information directly to your Google Plus circles.
By +1ing a site, you can now select which friends you want to share with, type a message and have that information appear directly in your news stream. This feature clearly resembles the Facebook “Like” button that has become prevalent throughout many sites.
What is a little more interesting in the second feature is the +Snippets. This allows for the inclusion of a link, an image and a description in the share box which is hoped will help start conversations about the information you have just shared.
What is more powerful with the +Snippets is the ability for publishers to customize their +snippets. Publishers will now have complete control over what appears when content is shared. According to Google, this will “let you put your best face forward by customizing exactly what appears when your content is shared.”
Why has Google added these additional features?
Google wants it easier for people visiting your site to start up a conversation about your content. The addition of the new annotations available is expected to increase user engagement when the shared item appears in your social stream.
By providing more control to the publishers with the +snippets it will attract more buy-in for use of its product. This will not only expands the reach of the Google Plus social network but makes it much friendlier than what’s already available on Facebook.
How will this play out for users?
It is extremely early in the Google Plus vs. Facebook war.
Google Plus is a serious contender and as its interface becomes more mature and more features are added for both users and publishers, this may cause a major shift in Google’s favour.
The addition of games and now enhancements to its social presence for websites, it is a clear indicator that Google is more serious about becoming more involved in the social internet.
What’s your thoughts on Google Plus and the new +1 and +snippets? Do you see these as being valuable for enhancing user experience, generating conversation and helping publishers?