Google plus one is live today, complete with a nag screen on the adsense dashboard. That leaves me with just two things to say. The first is, "Please plus one my page! Plus one my blog! Please Google plus one everything! Click here to plus one!" The other is, "Why would Google unleash this burden, is it really too late to reconsider?" I'm not going to say too much about Google's new plus one service because it has already been debated to some extent in the blogosphere. What I will do is express my discontent while secretly hoping you'll click the plus one button on this webpage.
Google is a super power, when they say jump, most of us jump.
Google is a lot more than a search company, it's even more than an "innovation company." Google is a gate keeper. If the Internet was the book Dune, targeted web traffic would be the spice, and Google is controlling a very large portion of it. Most revenue earning websites have some sort of stake in Google. Adsense publishers earn directly from Google by displaying ads. Product sellers need targeted search traffic to convert into sales. In intrinsic ways other professionals like SEOs and developers profit just by being knowledgeable of Google's gamut of services. In this sense, Google has a lot of sway over a very large number of people. We're about to see a lot of websites reluctantly place "yet another" social badge on their website. Not because I think the service is good or because they like the community, but because the traffic from Google is just too important, and no one wants to bite the hand that feeds them.
On my way home from the office today I saw a tow truck dragging a car behind it that had its ebrake on. The wheels screeched loudly as they were dragged along the blacktop at 40mph. The tow truck either didn't know, or care, because it kept going. That situation explains exactly my initial reactions to Google plus one. I already had a facebook like button, a twitter tweet button, a digg button, a stumbleupon button, and a reddit button, but now I feel pretty much forced to incorporate Google's plus one button with a higher priority than the rest. I'm being dragged into a system that I don't have great confidence in, but I know that if it pans out successful there will be great rewards for those who adopt it. I'd wager many webmasters and developers feel similar.
For every plus one this web page gets Eric Schmidt will donate one hundred dollars to the SETI program.
It's still to early to tell what will come of this plus one stuff, but judging by Google's track record it could go either way. It could die a shameful death like Wave, survive in limbo like Orkut, or change the face of the web like Docs. We don't know yet how it will effect search rankings, we don't know if it will help funnel traffic, and we don't know if the system will be gamed as easily as I think it will. All we can do is become early adopters, wait, watch, and adjust accordingly. In other words, it's business as usual, just with another social button to beg our users to click.
If you liked this article, plus one me. Otherwise I always love getting feedback in the comments! Heck, Plus one me AND leave a comment to really make my day.