Google +1 and Google Like

Thu 19 May 2011 15:56, Vitto Christaldi

Google +1 and Google Like

About two months ago, Google launched Google +1, a social sharing button from Google. Yes, everyone who is actively on Facebook knows how it works; it has basically the same concept as “Like button” on Facebook: you like it, you recommend it, and the words are spread. Social sharing has been proven to have a big role on determining page ranking and I guess that is why Google decided to adapt this idea. Yet, Google +1 is still an experiment and it is only available for a small percentage of users of Google.com (for the users of Gmail, Google Reader and Google Buzz).

So what does Google +1 bring to the table? When one of your Google contacts “+ 1'd” a site, their “recommendations” will show up on the search results.  Not only “+ 1'd” sites, links which have been shared by Twitter account you follow will also be shown on the results (the feature from Google Social Search). The theory is, people will trust friends' recommendations more because it is more personal and relevant compared to computers' recommendations.

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Besides organic search results, +1 is also available for paid search. Based on AdWords official blog, Google +1 would not affect the quality score of an ad and no adjustment is needed on the advertising strategy. I think Google +1 would  have influence on CTR and boost the AdWords campaign, because users will be more persuaded to click if they see an ad with high volume of +1s.

Google +1 and Google Like
Some of you might still remember that Google had also launched a similar experiment called “Google Like”, back in 2007. (For those who do not know what Google Like is, you can take a look here). In this feature, users were able to vote up, edit, and/or remove search results from the index; it allowed users to personalize their search results.

Basically, these two features have similar ideas; it ranks search results by personal choice and both are only visible for Google account holders. But what are the differences of Google +1 and Google Like?

  • Sharing

The main difference between these two features is located in the word “sharing”. In Google +1, users share their likes with their contacts, while in Google Like, the adjustment and liked pages can only be seen by themselves. In social media era like now, the word “share” plays an important role in online business and Google +1 fulfills the role.

  • Sequence

Google Like did not make any effect on ranking, while Google +1 does; although it is still unclear in how Google will measure the ranks from Google +1 and in what way they will project the results.

  • Order of Results

In Google +1, the order of the results would not be affected by +1s, while in Google Like, users may re-order the search result as what they want. From a social point of view, I believe users will be more attracted to use Google +1 if the “+1'ds” affect the order of the results (most +1'd sites is put on top). However, if we look from a “reliability” point of view, it would be a big disaster if the results are based on the number of “likes”.


Some assume that Google Like is the prior version of Google +1, since Google Like does not exist anymore. What could be the reasons why Google discontinued Google Like and decided to go with Google +1?

1. User Experience
With Google +1, Google is able to get the some useful information regarding users and search result, like demographics, clicks, people favorites, etc. In Google Like, the data that Google got from the user experience did not influence on the search result.


2. Trends
As I mentioned before, “sharing” has become a very trending term in online business nowadays; and Google Like is “too private”. Google has probably figured it out from their Google Social Search experiment. Google +1, on the other hand, is emphasizing on sharing  and that is exactly people's interest nowadays.


3. User Interaction
Users would like to get involved on deciding which result is relevant for the search and Google +1 provides the feature to satisfy the users by involve them on ranking the pages.


Update on Google +1

Recently in Google I/O Conference, Google released the preview of +1 activity stats. Later from the stats, web developers would be able to see the search impact (The effects on CTR and impression of links with and without Google +1) and demographics of people who + 1'd sites (age, gender, and location). Besides the stats, Google also released the preview of the “Google +1 button”. This button can be put on the websites, next to “Facebook Like” button and “Tweet” button.


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