Google +1 is going to start to display social recommendations to users when the mouse glides over the +1 button. The concept is based upon the idea that people would rather receive recommendations from their friends than a stranger or an algorithm. Google does say that it will work whether you are “logged in” or “not logged in”.
How Do the New Google +1 Recommendations Work
Users do not have to be logged in to receive the recommendations. They can simply mouse over the +1 button wherever they navigate and recommendations will be made. The recommendations will come from people in the user’s friends or social group first and secondarily, from what Google can ascertain about the user’s preferences.
Google does say that it will work whether you are “logged in” or “not logged in”.
At the moment I am only able to get the +1 recommendations when logged in. (I am also signed up to the developer platform)
Google is constantly crawling and indexing sites. Because Google already engages in this type of data gathering daily, it is a natural progression to transform the information into recommendations.
The recommendations are personalised, useful and offer users more of an incentive to press the +1 buttons on websites. This will be helpful to Google and site owners in the ranking process also since there is a strong correlation between +1 selections and rankings in Google.
The Google +1 recommendation idea is novel and beneficial. The user, for instance, may be looking at a Gmail application online in the Chrome Web Store. The +1 button will show related applications and recommendations from friends in their social circles. The recommendations will help people make informed decisions based upon trusted sources. Businesses will gain more customers if the recommendations are validated by people the user knows and trusts.
As users become more interactive with the site and its content, sales will improve and customer loyalty will build. Google +1 recommendations are another way to keep people interested in the content, product or service on the site. Site owners are hoping the +1 will help generate more traffic and more sales.
Site owners who already have a +1 button integrated into their websites will begin viewing the recommendations soon. For those who are impatient and want a sneak preview, Google is offering access through the developer preview group. People who sign up for this option will not only be able to make preview, but they will also be able to provide feedback. The feedback will be incorporated into to the new feature to make it more appealing to users.
On most test I got 3 recommendations, but on one site where I had +1 a page I got 2 recommendations and on some sites where I +1 a lot of pages I did not get a recommendation.
What are the Challenges and Concerns?
Many people find this type of Big Brother tracking of preferences and friend recommendations slightly disconcerting. Some users may feel as though Google is invading their privacy by gathering data and making recommendations based on their preferences and their friend’s preferences. For the most part, people feel the convenience is worth the invasion of privacy. Some people, however, feel it is slight “creepy.”
Other users are concerned about prioritization of the content shown. Some pundits speculate that the content will be prioritized based upon the clicks or popularity of the items. The integrity of the recommendation shown is another concern of the users. If there are no recommendations from friends, how will Google select the best recommendation, and what will be the criteria? Will it be solely based on preferences in cookies, or will Google’s algorithm be more sophisticated and use other criteria from search to make decision? People want to know what to expect.
Search appears to be one component of the total solution. Much research has been done on the “Search Lever” to prepare for features such as Google +1 recommendations and other functionalities Google may ultimately release. Details have not been entirely exposed yet.
There is much anticipation in the coming weeks as this new feature is slowly rolled out. The hope is that Google can offer more to advertisers by having information on user’s preferences. Advertisements can be more targeted, and businesses are more likely to make sales when they know who likes their product and who recommends their product based upon Google +1 recommendations.
Some +1 Buttons are not providing the +1 recommendation.
There is the possibility that Google will only add recommendations to the “official” +1 button, but it could also be an early phase of testing, or developers will need to add some form of authority mark up – will keep you posted .
How Can Google +1 Recommendations Be Used in Your Life?
Consider how you can use Google +1 recommendations to select sites, articles, products or services that are useful to your personal or business life. Users without websites only view one side of the benefits of Google +1 recommendations.
The value of Google +1 recommendations goes up significantly for website owners. Though recommendations are useful to users, the information received by site owners will be far more useful for business applications, marketing and tailoring products to consumer needs.