Google +1 shows up late to the sharing party

Ronny Kerr · June 2, 2011 · Short URL:

A year after Facebook debuted the Like button and a year and a half after the Twitter retweet plugin

Say hello to the new Google, always one step behind the social Web.

The search-going-social company announced Wednesday that its content recommendation plugin, +1, is now available to embed on third-party sites.

At the end of March, the +1 button started rolling out in Google search results and ads, letting users, with a single click, select websites to recommend to friends and other contacts. As a feature, that preliminary rollout never made too much sense, since you normally want to see the actual website before recommending it.

Now, Google is finally offering a +1 button to sit alongside the ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter share buttons on any website.

+1 is as simple on the rest of the web as it is on Google search. With a single click you can recommend that raincoat, news article or favorite sci-fi movie to friends, contacts and the rest of the world. The next time your connections search, they could see your +1’s directly in their search results, helping them find your recommendations when they’re most useful.

Google partnered with the following media and retail companies as part of the +1 launch today: AddThis, Best Buy, Bloomberg, The Huffington Post, Mashable, Nordstrom, O'Reilly, Reuters, Rotten Tomatoes, TechCrunch, The Washington Post. Of course, the +1 button will also be expanding from Google search to the company’s other Web properties, including Android Market, Blogger, Product Search and YouTube.

Here it is in action:

If you still aren’t seeing the +1 button on Google search pages, don’t be too alarmed. They’re taking their sweet time in releasing it to the public. Because +1 integration on third-party websites is completely up to webmasters, however, you’ll be seeing the button across the Web immediately. That is, if more companies beyond the above launch partners actually bother to bake the button into their site.

I started this out by saying Google has been slow on the social uptake, which isn’t really up for debate: even former CEO Eric Schmidt has repeatedly admitted that Google has so far failed to get social media right. Facebook launched its Like button a year ago, while Twitter rolled out its own retweet about six months before that. And we all know that +1 is just Google’s version of the Like or retweet, just a little bit late.

As many have noted with Microsoft and Windows Phone 7, however, it’s better to show up late with a solid, valuable product than to keep patching up antiquated or inferior products. Even worse: not getting in the game at all. Google still has a chance at social, as much as Microsoft can still steal mobile or search market share from the current leaders.

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