It may have taken them a bit longer than most had expected, but it appears as though Google is ready to dive into the social media sphere. The company launched the +1 feature in search results in March, which parallels Facebook’s “like” as a way of denoting social recommendations in a Google search. The +1 button does carry a few more interesting features however, including the notion that pages that you +1 will show up in the Google search results of people within your Google network. Organic search results are essentially replaced with the recommendations of your peers, which is a core function of social media.
Naturally, this implementation has important ramifications for businesses that depend on their online presence to generate sales.
According to the Business Insider’s Chart of the Day (above), nearly 40% or the 418 U.S. consumers surveyed responded that Google was the first site they turned to when making an online purchase, while only 1% said that they asked their friends on Facebook.
Furthermore, Google is poised to meet the Facebook behemoth head-on with the recent advent of the Google+ social network service. Currently optimized for consumer usage, the company will be admitting a select group of businesses into a Google+ pilot test to gauge how users interact with commercial brand Profiles through the platform’s various services.
Google+ offers users the chance to dictate the distance between them and their followers by placing them into groups, or Circles, and Hangouts, a video conferencing app.
It will be interesting to see how users interact with businesses through these services from Google+, Facebook and other social networks, many of which offer new levels of access and closeness to commercial brands.
For more information on Google+, check out the video below.