Google to the Power of +1

On July 9th, Google started rolling out +1 recommendations.

Many were upset by the change saying that Google+ was pulling a “Facebook” by making “+1’s” behave like “Likes”. Rumours have it that some have even left Google+ altogether.

Others, like myself, think this is a great move by Google to place some real social value on “+1’s”.

Here’s a portion of the post from Shamrit Ben-Yair, Product Manager at Google, that appeared on July 9th.: 

Many of the best photos, articles and videos we find online are the ones recommended by friends. So we’re making it easier to discover these recommendations in your Google+ stream…

We’ll occasionally highlight posts that were +1’d by people in your circles. 

And if you +1 a post, we may highlight it to your friends as well.”

What’s changed?

Now when we “+1” a post, it has the potential to be shared on our circles and extended circles’ Home streams. (If they already have access to our posts – meaning they’re not posted privately or muted from appearing in the Home Stream.)

“+1″ recommendations only appear in the Home Stream. If you spend your G+ day in circles, they won’t be visible. And you won’t see any “+1’s” you give in comments.

Contrary to the knee jerk reaction by some that our streams were going to be polluted by “+1” runoff, I’ve seen less than 5% of my home stream made up of “+1’s”. (Gideon Rosenblatt came up with 7 per hundred posts on his article.)

 Where “+1ing” a post was once innocuous and seen as more a “thanks for posting” or simple “acknowledgment”, it now carries the weight of a recommendation. 

Why, Google, why?

Google wants to increase engagement on the platform and give newer plussers more opportunity to grow their circles.

Also, “social signals” are important in Google’s search algorithms.

Remember, your Google+ pages, profile, posts are all indexed by Google and impact on your search results and those who have you in their circles. 

For instance, if a G+ influencer, gives a newbie a +1, then it’s possible that “plus” will show up in the influencer’s circles and because of the “weight” of that “1”, more people will likely…

  1. Check out the original post 
  2. Circle the author of that post.

It was much easier to engage with influencers when there was a relative few homogeneous geeks on G+. This is to be expected as a platform goes from zero to second most populous social platform in two years.

People are hangin out in their own neighbourhoods. You can reach them, but you have to work a bit harder to do so.

The new and power boosted “+1” helps us do that.

This is the whole Google+ point, isn’t it?


Google+ Recommendation +1

Who could see your “+1’s”? 

  • Anyone in your circles
  • People not in your circles but who circle those that are and who circle you – Extended circles
  • People who you have in your “Show posts in Home Stream
  • If Google’s algorithm believes your recommendation is relevant to circler’s interests.

Whose “+1’s” could you see? 

  • Anyone in your circles that you have allowed to be seen in your home stream in settings: Show posts in home stream.
  • If Google’s algorithm believes the “+1” is relevant to your interests.   

How to control who sees you “+1’s”?

(from Google:)  Circles help you control who can see your activity, as well as what appears in your main stream. You can visit your settings to decide who, if anyone, might see your “+1’s” highlighted in the stream: 

Google+ +1 Activity Settings

If you don’t want to see any “+1’s” in your home stream, you can deactivate them by going to “Settings” – “manage Apps & activities” – “Who can see your “+1’s on posts” activity?


Google+  Apps Privacy Settings

You can also customize who see your “+1’s” by managing volumes on each of your circles.

Here’s a link to Ronnie Bincer’s slides: Manage settings for Pages: Slides for managing your “+1’s” visibility on your Profile and Page. (They’re slightly different.) 

Is it good for business?

This change was made while I was on vacation and the first day I was back I had “+1’d” a post as my Brand Page, +NewRayCom.

In the comments of that post was one from a major Google+ player, Jaana Nystrom who said she came across the post from my “+1” having appeared in her stream.

I was surprised that “+1’s” from Pages worked.

I’ve set my Page settings to “public” because, as a business I welcome the potential to reach out to as many people who find my content relevant as possible.

The new “+1” gives me another opportunity to gain authority by sharing and “recommending” content that I am knowledgeable about and is helpful.

Does this change my Google+ behaviour?


With the knowledge that there is a chance my followers will see my “+1’s”, I am more discriminating. I treat it more like a LinkedIn recommendation. I have to stand behind the content I recommend. 

All “+1’s” aren’t the same.

This change only applies to “+1’s” on the Google+ platform. Although this update brings the value of a +1 closer to those we give on outside sites, there is no evidence that they carry any weight as a search signal.

For an interesting discussion on the new & improved +1, I recommend you view: To Plus 1 or Not to Plus 1… That is the Question! 

Has this update changed your Google+ behaviour?


Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus specialist and Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus on his blog: His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and freelancers. Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.
Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz

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