You can now add +1 buttons to your own Web pages, as Google continues the deployment of its answer to Facebook's Like button. Visitors' clicks on your +1 buttons will show up next to your pages in search results.
Twitter had a few announcements, too, on Wednesday, beefing up its search tool and announcing its own photo-sharing services.
Publishers deploy the new +1 button on their Websites, and visitors click the button to signify that they Like the page. The most important effect +1 will have is on search results; when a person runs a search, if his social connections +1'd a page, those +1s will be reported below the results for that particular page.
Searchers will see +1s from people in their Google social circles -- including people in their Gmail and Google Talk chat lists; people in their "My Contacts" groups in Google Contacts; and people they follow in Google Reader or Google Buzz. Non-Google services Twitter, Quora, and Flickr will be added later. Facebook? The two sides are still talking, but I'm not holding my breath.
We discussed +1 when Google introduced the program two months ago. At that time, you could only +1 search results and paid ads. Even now, the +1 feature has not yet been rolled out to all Google users. Any logged-in user can opt in to work with +1s by signing up at Google's search experiments page.
The simplest way to get started with adding +1 buttons to your pages is to visit Google's configuration tool. Here you have a few choices such as button size, language, and whether or not to show the number of +1s applied to the page so far. The tool produces a small amount of code that you insert into your Web pages as directed.
By putting Google's button on your pages, you are agreeing to abide by its +1 button policy. This comprises mostly privacy protections: Marketers can't attempt to learn anything about a user (such as her identity) based on her use of +1, and marketers can't sell or transfer any such information either. Oh, and marketers can't add +1 buttons to their own ads; Google does that for you.
To see a +1 button in action on a non-Google site, go to this TechCrunch page. If you click on this +1 -- the one at the top, on the same level as the byline -- you will get a confirming pop-up; and if you are not logged in to Google at the time you will get a chance to do that here.
This button is going to spread far and wide across the Web, and quickly. Once Google enables the feature for all users -- a spokesman would not give The CMO Site a date, but said they are working hard on it -- +1 may start slowly to affect SEO. This FAQ explains:
...+1's from friends and contacts can be a useful signal to Google when determining the relevance of your page to a user’s query. This is just one of many signals Google may use to determine a page’s relevance and ranking, and we’re constantly tweaking and improving our algorithm to improve overall search quality. For +1's, as with any new ranking signal, we’ll be starting carefully and learning how those signals affect search quality.
Yesterday we wrote about Twitter's slew of announcements, including its deployment of a Follow button. Today Twitter had more to announce: an improved search that returns results ordered by relevance, by default, and in addition returns image and video results. Twitter search also integrates with Firefox, to let a user type a Twitter username in the address bar and be taken straight to that user's Twitter home page.
In yet another announcement, Twitter is partnering with Photobucket for its own photo upload and storage service; this will go live within a few weeks, according to Twitter.
— Keith Dawson , Senior Editor, The CMO Site
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