Google's +1 is, like, strangely familiar

But did they have to come up with such an unspeakable term?

Google, in its ongoing attempt to turn the entire Internet into some mega-social network, has now come out with a way for everybody to like things they find out there.

Sound familiar? Well, it should. Anyone who has been living on this planet for the last five years or so will recognize that Facebook has already been doing this. In fact, they have such a lock on this aspect of voluntary privacy relinquishment that no one could possibly hope to challenge it. Or could they?

Well, if anyone could, it’s probably a company that has essentially defined its entire existence on carving out significant market share in a sector that is already dominated by another company. Yes, I am talking about Google. Let’s face it, that’s kind of the company's bread and butter.

For right now, the only place you will find +1 buttons is, where else, on the Google search engine pages. When you find a link you like, or I guess we should use a different word, like (there it is again) enjoy, you can push the +1 button.

According to Google, this will add the link to your social network, though it’s funny because such a network does not yet exist. Google is working on creating that too.

What should happen is that friends within your +1 social network who do a similar search will find the +1 items closer to the top of their page, with your name attached to the recommendation. Or, if a lot of people outside of your (soon to come into existence) social network have +1ed an item, you will be told that “15 other people have +1ed this link” with no names.

In almost every way, this functions like the Facebook Like buttons.

But “+1?” Really, Google? That was the best you could come up with? That sounds like an RSVP to a wedding or something. And it sounds totally ridiculous in verb form, which is ultimately what happens to these terms.

Yes, we know that the Facebook folks already got the good one. People liked stuff long before there was an Internet, so it was definitely the best choice. But did you really have to resort to making people go around “+1ing” things, and finding out what their friends have already “+1ed”? Really? I thought you were supposed to not be evil.

I guess we will have to wait and see whether Google can make magic again with this latest foray. If the company does, maybe it’ll have a party, and I can bring a ‘+1.’

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.


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