Google's new sharing button, +1, is hoping to bring peer approval to search results, Web pages, and Android Market apps. But competition is hot in this category.
While the +1 Button from Google was being rolled out since March, it was appearing only on search results. Now the rest of the Web can use the button, and some differences in application to Facebook's Like button are coming to light. This particularly becomes clear in Google properties such as the Android Market, where approving an app can possibly save someone from installing malicious software.
Web visitors can click on the +1 Button on a Web site or next to a link to say to their social circle and everyone, in Google's words, that "this is pretty cool" or "you should check this out." As a general approval device, this button is essentially quite close a mechanism to the Like button, which plugs into a Facebook member's profile and social circle.
Similarly, the +1 is visible to friends and contacts of a specific public Google profile, although Google does enable a user to change settings to private for personal use.
But as mentioned above, there are some differences in its application, since Google is a very different network than Facebook. Google has implemented the +1 Button at its mobile OS application site, the Android Market. There, it is possible for visitors to approve individual apps, or to tweet them, but not to Like them. To clarify, there is support for Google, Twitter, but not for Facebook sharing systems. That is just competition strategy, but as the Android Market is open source, it gives the social circle the ability to verify apps that are safe, useful - and perhaps most importantly - relevant.
This concept of relevancy is key for competitors in the social media category. Google has had its share of second class competitors in this area - Buzz, Wave and Orkut (in the US), so what it has learned it is bringing to +1. This tool, already familiar to Like users, aims for relevancy in a crowded market.