Back in March, 2011, Google trotted out its +1 button – a little widget that shows up next to your search results enabling you to “vote up” a particular result with the click. It is essentially another sharing button, but it comes with some strings – Google gains the ability to “tailor” your advertisements and results based on what you +1 (I see a new verb in the lexicon). In order to use and track them, you need to create a Google Profile, and your +1 saves will show on that profile, either publicly or privately. It isn’t a bad way to keep track of things you like, much like a Google bookmarking system, with benefits.
Now, Google is releasing the code to its +1 button and rolling the button out to major sites. Publishers can drop the code into their sites to make it even easier to mark down +1’s – if you click on a search result and view a page that you like, you can then hit the button there, instead of on the search results list. Check out the tutorial over at Mashable on how to add it to your site’s CSS / HTML editor. Or, you can do what I did on my self-hosted WordPress blog and add a plug-in that automatically adds the button to each post.
If you already have share buttons on your site, the +1 is a no-brainer. If you happen to garner a lot of +1’s, the number will show in the search results, which further impels your content in a viral direction. Like a universal recommendation icon for the Web. With these options, adding the button is easy, and encourages sharing, which, as they say, is caring. Hey – feel free to +1 this post, and click the little button at the top left!