Google Plus One Demystified
Article by George Norman
On 01 Aug 2011
Nowadays when you want to learn more about something you simply Google it. But back in the day when you wanted to learn more about something, the first course of action was to ask someone who knew more about that something. With limited or no internet access, it was always a lot easier to just speak with someone.

The Plus One (+1) button blends these two elements together - it's like searching the web with a knowledgeable friend by your side. The whole thing goes something like this: when you browse the web and find something interesting, something that your friends should check out, you just “plus one” it.

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When your friends stumble on something interesting, they can “plus one” it as well. As Google explained, when you "plus one" (+1) something its like saying “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.” Then, when you search for something on Google, you will see Plus One recommendations from your friends in the search results.

Say you’re craving for something sweet, like some cookies. You can easily Google cookie recipes on Google; and if one of your friends “plus one’d” a cookie recipe, it will show up in the search results. As Google put it, "it’s easier to find exactly what you’re looking for when someone you know already found it."

To get a better idea of what +1 is all about and to better understand how it works, Mountain View-based search engine giant Google has put together a nice and short clip that you can view below.

Adding a Plus One button to your website is an incredibly simple process. It is in fact as simple as adding a snippet of code. All you have to do is visit this page, select how big you want the +1 button to be, select your language from the lengthy dropdown menu, and then just grab the code the site provides. Anyone with a public Google profile can then access your site and +1 content posted on it.

Getting back to the regular users, it must be said that they can easily view the online content they “plus one'd”. They can do that by visiting their Google profiles; there’s a tab that displays all the user’s plus ones. The users can make the plus one tab visible to the rest of the world, or they can keep it private.

We can’t talk about the Google Plus One (or +1) button without talking about another, similarly named Google product, mainly Google Plus (or Google+). What is Google Plus you ask? It is the next big thing since Facebook came along. It is a Google’s big push into social networking. Here’s what you can expect to get from Google Plus:

Circles – you can create circles of friends and share different bits and pieces with different circles. You could for example have a circle with all your work friends, another with your non-work friends, and another circle with your family members. After you create a circle, you just drag and drop a contact into a circle – it is as simple as that.

Sparks – similar to Google Reader, it helps you find interesting content online. It is a feed that will deliver content to you based on your interests.

Hangouts – these are virtual rooms where you can video chat with contacts in your circles.

Huddles – this is group messaging for people within your Circles. You can thus communicate with multiple people at the same time.

Instant Upload – the photos you take with your phone are automatically uploaded to the web. Instead of you having to deal with the cumbersome process of uploading photos, the photos are “auto-magically” uploaded.

If you want to start using Google Plus, you need to know someone who is already using the service. Right now Google Plus is still in the testing phase and the only way to get in so to get an invite from someone who is already using Google Plus. Once you’re in, you can use Google Plus on your desktop computer or, if you have an Android-powered phone, you can download the Google Plus app from the Android Market (see here).

Speaking of getting a Google Plus invite, it must be said that quite a large number of people managed to get in. According to figures released by ComScore, more than 30 million users got on board within the first three weeks. That is phenomenal interest in the social networking service and I’m sure is giving Facebook a major headache. Facebook may be a big thing now, with more than 750 million registered users, but this wasn’t always the case. It took Facebook more than 3 years to get to 50 million users while Google Plus went up to 20 million in just a few weeks (and keep in mind that Google Plus is still in its testing phase, it has not been released to the general public).

Tags: Google, Google Plus, Google+, Google Plus One, Google +1
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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