On May 31st at the AllThingsD conference, Chairman Eric Schmidt publicly took responsibility for having failed to move faster with Google’s social media strategy when he was still the company’s CEO.
Two days later Google announced two social media developments: the full availability of the Google +1 button , including on WordPress ;-), and the acquisition of social media analytics company Postrank.
The +1 button is a social recommendation button similar to Facebook‘s Like, except that there is no “dislike” or -1 option. Webmasters add a button plug-in to their pages or posts, as I did. One click on the button by a visitor who has a Google profile becomes a positive vote that increments the button’s counter for all to see.
Buttons are also visible on English search page results on Google.com. I found strange that one can recommend a page URL from the search engine result page before/without having opened it.
Visitors must have registered a Google profile in order to be able to use the +1 button. Google Friends can see each other’s name or pseudo next to their +1’s … I don’t have Google friends yet. However, when I searched Google profiles for “eCommerce” I found 100 pages, i.e. there were at least 1,000 detailed profiles mentioning that keyword.
Of course, US eCommerce professionals are early adopters. But it seems to clearly indicate that a lot of people are eager to seize the opportunity to make themselves known by using Google’ social marketing tools. We have to watch how the head-on Google – Facebook competition unfolds.