Has the button come before the graph?

Google has tried its had at social once again with the +1 button.So now Google has its own “Like” button. Only it is called “+1″. But I have questions about the service.

When I “like” something the signal goes to my entire Facebook social graph. With “+1″ where is the social graph? My Gmail/Chat contacts or Buzz friends (not many there) or Google Reader friends?

Why will I ever want to “+1″ a search result? Well may be there is a use case but it seems too fragile without a significant graph to impact. Essentially only when someone in my graph expresses the same intent as I do (search for similar things) will the “+1″ have an impact. Otherwise I may just be curating the results and helping Google rank results better. The discovery aspect here is pretty slim in the sense I do not “discover” that someone in my social graph likes something unless I already have a similar intent.

Why ads? This is more confusing, especially for all the search marketers. If I “+1″ an ad then does the chances of someone from my social graph seeing it increase? Would this just mean more money for Google as the number of clicks on ads increase on seeing it to have been “+1″d?

Just wondering what the user interaction with a search result/ad unit is like. People click a result/ad and goes to the page. If they do not like it, they come back to the search results and check out other options. If they like it, they stay there. So now to “+1″ a result/ad they will have to come back and click the button. (Unless the button is already on the page – which is clearly more meaningful.)¬†That seems to be one step too many to curate search results and ad units. Unless people just start clicking based on the blue links or the two line ad copy.

For all the resources available to it, Google has been uncharacteristically bad with social. Here is something that doesn’t look very promising either. Last month’s efforts to include real social signals from Twitter and some other social networks was a better approach. And to have this to work great Google needs the graph, which they don’t have.

[image via Mashable]

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