Yesterday both Google and Twitter announced their own buttons for the social web, more than one year after Facebook launched its like button.
Since launching, the Facebook like button has taken the content world by storm, increasing traffic for all tsites that implement the product.
While the plugins’ performance varies from one site to the next, the simplicity of a single click has reduced friction so much that it is practically replacing the link, something that I highlighted right after the like button first launched.
Impact Of Google +1
Google is now losing an increasing amount of information that’s being gobbled up by Facebook. The problem is so significant that the search giant is now ready to launch their own like button, +1, later today.
Right now it’s not clear how large of an impact the +1 button will actually have. In addition to being a horrible name (seriously, who came up with +1?), it’s not totally clear how it will impact search results. While it will most definitely contribute to the results at some point, there is less of an incentive for users currently.
For Facebook, the like button has essentially become the default way to share content on the social network — click a button and instantly information is shared with your friends to discover. The issue with Google is that it doesn’t have its own social distribution channel that users read on a daily basis.
I can load up my Facebook feed and instantly see everything my friends are liking around the web. Granted, I use Google numerous times throughout the day as I search for answers to questions. With my friends’ likes integrated into those results, I can quickly find out which content is the best. Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see how many users click on the “+1” button.
Impact Of Twitter Follow
In contrast to the like and +1 button, the Twitter follow button launched yesterday is less about specific content and more about following web content creators’ Tweets. It’s more comparable to the like box, which is more targeted at the content creator looking to broadcast out to their following.
Twitter already has its own plugin, the Tweet button. The product, which was first launched last August, has gained significant traction but doesn’t appear to have impacted Facebook.
Instead, most publications have both a like and a Tweet button in an effort to increase the social distribution across both sites.
Depending on which publication you read, you’ll sometimes see more likes and other times you’ll see more Tweets. Most people actually choose between one or the other. Some prefer to share with their Facebook friends, while others prefer to share with their Twitter followers, who most likely happen to have similar interests.
Clicking Multiple Buttons?
The reality is that each product brings a different solution to the table. While the Tweet, like, and +1 buttons are all a single-click way of sharing content, the context of information on each site is completely different. While many users will now be driven to click on all the buttons, most people will click on whichever button results in the content being shared with people they want to share with.
Given that Facebook has such a large user base, there’s a good chance that it will remain the defacto social sharing button. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait and see whether or not users use the +1 button or not.
Readers, what kind of competitive impact do you see in Google and Twitter’s plugins?