Google unveiled their recommendation service, +1, yesterday. It’s a simple enough system, you can essentially recommend search results in Google with the click of a button:
This service has the potential to be very useful, no doubt. But to how many people? You can only get recommendations from your network who also have (and use) a Google account. It’s only going to be useful to the 10% of the population who have both a Google account and friends with a Google account. How many of your friends have a Google account that they are signed into when using Google? 90% of my friends don’t have an account. And of the 10% of my friends that do, only a fraction I want recommendations from.
And that’s the second point. The numbers of potential contacts that I can get recommendations from is low, but, they’re all pretty similar. They all have early adopter tendencies; they tend to be up on the latest trends etc. And most of them work in a similar industry to me, follow other similar people etc. Google tools are great, but they are used by a niche set of people. And getting recommendations from a group of people in that niche is only marginally more useful than from just one person in that niche.
The issue is Google never really scaled beyond search. A handle of people have accounts for YouTube, even fewer for Gmail. How many of your friends have a Google account that they are signed into when using Google. Now compare that to how many of your friends have a Facebook or Twitter account. Big difference.
For services like +1 to be useful they have to both be used by a large chunk of your network, and have different types of people from within your network recommending. Otherwise it just becomes noise. Google needs to encourage more users to sign up for accounts, and sadly, this service won’t do that. Google should be encouraging users to sign up when they download chrome, which people have been doing in their millions.
Having said all that, it is very reassuring to see Google launch a tool that I am actually considering using. What do you think? Will you use it?
Credit goes to @steevbishop for the snappy title