Google is slowing introducing its answer to the Facebook “like” button in the form of +1.
Here’s how it works:
I did a Google search for the Mandarin Oriental New York and clicked a +1 icon at the end ¬†of the link indicating that I like it, or in Google parlance, I think “this is pretty cool.”
So now if you are signed into your Google profile and you are an IM buddy or in my Gmail contacts, when you search for the Mandarin Oriental New York you’ll see that I like the hotel, or actually, that I think “this is pretty cool.”
So, this is the latest way that Google is trying to get social in search.
Caution: Make sure you don’t give a +1 to your favorite strip club or to the Sierra Club if you are a manager at at coal-fired power plant because your +1 selections become public.
In addition to +1′s appearing in English-language search results on Google.com, they also will start appear in ads, which will indicate to your social networking friends that you endorse the product — or at least appreciate the ad.
Travel businesses and others are expected to get some traffic and clicks from a bevy of +1′s.
So, if Google’s experiment takes off, you can expect to see a bunch of contests and sweepstakes urging people to click on +1 to promote a business’s ads.
Advertisers will not be able to opt out of the +1 program, although a +1 alongside an ad does not count as a paid click, SearchEngineLand reports. In addition, Google’s advertisers will be able to access some analytics about which ads are +1 magnets.
“Like social search, we use many signals to identify the most useful recommendations, including things like the people you are already connected to through Google (your chat buddies and contacts, for example),” writes product manager Robert Spiro on the Google Blog. “Soon we may incorporate other signals, such as your connections on sites like Twitter to ensure your recommendations are as relevant as possible.”
+1′s — and two of them do not equate to +2 — should start appearing soon in your Google search results and ads, and the plan is for them to become ubiquitous “in other Google products and sites across the Web,” Google’s Spiro writes.
And, yes, if you click +1 and change your mind, you can view your +1′s in a new tab in your Google profile and delete those which are no longer your favorites.
Here’s a Google video about +1. It all adds up.