Skip to Content
Uncategorized

New ‘+1’ Button Has Your Brain Help Google’s Algorithm

Friends’ opinions will affect search results, thanks to a feature inspired by Facebook.
March 30, 2011

Google has launched a close copy of Facebook’s Like button that will crowdsource people’s opinions to help the search engine know what’s valuable online. Called +1, the button will appear on Web pages and alongside search results, enabling users to signal that they appreciated a piece of content. Google will track clicks of the button to hone search results, using clicks from your friends as a signal of what is most relevant to you.

The search company announced the new feature today, saying:

It’s called +1—the digital shorthand for “this is pretty cool.”

A YouTube video introduces the feature, which will be “slowly rolling out” on Google.com, at first for users of the English version. Google’s new feature is very similar to one built by both rival Bing and search startup Blekko. Both use data from Facebook Like buttons to have your friends’ opinions tune your search results.

However, your social network is something of a blind spot to Google, which doesn’t have the same understanding of your social connections that Facebook does. Initially the +1s of your Google chat buddies and contacts will be used to “enhance” your results, the company says, while eventually +1s from your Twitter contacts might also be taken into account. At launch, though, +1 seems likely to be somewhat hamstrung by Google’s lack of a detailed social “graph” for its users.

When Google previously tried to remedy that, it enraged people by guessing at whom its users were friends with from their e-mail activity, and pitching them into a copy of Twitter called Buzz. Coincidentally, the FTC today delivered its verdict on the debacle, labeling Google’s behavior an example of “deceptive privacy practices.”

Yet Google’s hunger for a better understanding of your social network, and hence whose opinions it should use to tune your search results, is only going to be heightened by the launch of +1. Expect to see Google make renewed efforts to launch features and tools that capture social connections in coming months.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.