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This article was published on June 17, 2011

Is Google +1 Another Social Flop?

Is Google +1 Another Social Flop?
Niall Harbison
Story by

Niall Harbison

Niall is a social media advocate and co-founder of digital marketing agency Simply Zesty. He helps small brands get their message out to the Niall is a social media advocate and co-founder of digital marketing agency Simply Zesty. He helps small brands get their message out to the world and engage with their customers using the free tools available to them.

I finally thought that Google was making some progress in its aim to get in to the social space with the launch of its +1 button but I’m starting to wonder if it has a bit of a Google Buzz feel about it. The initial launch came nearly 3 months ago when it was announced and starting appearing in search results and coming up on 3 weeks ago when Google announced it would be rolled out to publishers around the web. There has been significant buzz around both launches with many making the comparison with other social network sharing buttons like the Facebook Like button or the Twitter Follow button. Some of the biggest publishers around have also embraced the button (we even added it to our own blog here) and the button appears on Google properties like YouTube under all its videos.

The big question that everybody is starting to wonder though is what does the button do or what purpose does it serve? Even though publishers have embraced it what good is it actually doing and more importantly why would anybody ever click on it? When I click the Facebook Like button, the tweet button or even the Linkedin button I am implicitly sharing that content with my networks and there is a real reason for hitting the button. With the +1 button I actually have no idea why I would click it. If I don’t have any idea and I work in the business what must the average web user be thinking? The general feeling is that people might click on it once or twice out of curiosity but after that you have no real reason to ever click it again. The long term plan is for Google to route all this information through your Google Profile and make all the +1′s useful but nobody is using those profiles and on current form nobody ever will.

So where does Google go from here? Its launch of Google Wave and Google Buzz were both massive pushes in to the social space and both failed spectacularly. Google +1 has had similar hype and just like Buzz has been embraced by publishers but you can see that barely anybody is clicking on the buttons. Does Google have something up it’s sleeve that it will roll out shortly? Will they give us a reason to click the +1 button soon or will it fade away and disappear from sites to be retired to the Google social media graveyard? This really is last chance saloon for Google in the social space so lets hope they have some other layer coming to add on to this pretty soon because time is running out! What do you think? Will it succeed or is it another Google social flop?

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