Oh joy. The grand social networking experiment from Google, called Plus One (or, +1) is expanding, and now it's coming to YouTube. Now you can let everyone in your (Google) network know about what videos you're watching, or find new videos for your own enjoyment by checking out the recommendations of your friends. While I'm not sure +1 has much chance of challenging Facebook--like... ever--there are still some interesting things to take note of regarding this growing service.
+1 Buttons For Publishers
Google is partnering with a few high-profile online publishers to help promote +1. They include The Huffington Post, Rotten Tomatoes, Reuters, & TechCrunch, among others. These publishers will start displaying a +1 button in the near future--at least, that's what Google says. I can't find it on any of these sites just yet, so we'll have to take Google's word for it.
But regular Joe's like you and me can put the +1 button on our site as well. You can grab the code or read more about implementing it at the special "+1 Your Website" help page.
Here's the video they made in March explaining the +1 button, in our own player, with the +1button: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAyUNI3_V2c
+1 Buttons On YouTube Videos
Google is also rolling +1 out to some of their own properties, like the Android Market or Product Search. Or YouTube. Again, we'll have to take their word for it, because I can't find any +1 buttons on YouTube just yet, but they claim they should be showing up anytime. And it sounds like it's site-wide, so that the buttons will appear on every video.
We finally have a way to be social with our YouTube videos. Oh wait... we already had tons of ways. This is really just... one more new way. Fair enough. I hear there are people using +1, I just don't know any of them.
What The +1 Roll-Out Means
I'm pretty sure the future of Google search is directly tied to social behavior. Specifically, I think it's going to be tied to likes, dislikes, reviews, and now +1's. Links have long been the dominant currency of trust in the eyes of Google, but they're rapidly finding that there are newer, better measures of how important a particular source is to a particular person.
It's entirely conceivable to me that in the near future websites are going to need to be "liked" on Facebook, reviewed well on Yelp, and recommended via +1 in order to rank well. And while I poke a little fun above at how late to the party Google is on social, they've proven before that they have the distribution capabilities to jump into a new marketplace and get enough attention to succeed--Android, anyone?
Of course, they've launched numerous new products and services in new markets (new to them, that is) that have flopped as well. But social is so crucial to today's Internet--not to mention the Internet of the future--that I can't see them giving +1 anything but their very best effort. Which is exactly what they're doing by rolling it out to their other major properties like YouTube. In the blink of an eye, that puts +1 on the radar of millions of viewers. Whether they use it or not... remains to be seen.