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July 19, 2012

Google Tests a Share Link for Search Results

Google tests a new "share" link for search results pages. The link lets you share a search result on Google+ and it replaces the "+1" button, which only added a page to the "+1" section of your public profile.

The "share" link is only displayed when you mouse over the search result, just like the "+1" button. When you click the link, Google shows the standard Google+ dialog for sharing content. Unfortunately, you can't "+1" pages.

I think it's a bad idea to replace the "+1" button with the "share" link. The "+1" button works as a social bookmarking tool: you're not only bookmarking pages, but you also help other people find useful pages (and they help you). When you "+1" a page, your action is not automatically broadcast to everyone that follows you, so you're likely to use it more often. The "share" link creates a Google+ post, so you might only use it to share important things.

It's not clear why Google didn't enhance the "+1" button from search results pages by adding the sharing feature that's already available for the regular "+1" button used by so many sites. This way you could both "+1" a page and share it with other people.


  1. The bad thing about the +1 button is that you couldn't share privately. I don't always want a page to show up on the +1 tab on my profile.

    Though, I do agree with Alex, that the +1 button should not disappear, because sometimes, it's exactly what you want.

    Ideally, a universal button that gives the user an option to "+1 only" OR "share only" OR "both" would be great.

    1. The regular "+1" button (there's one above) lets you:

      * +1 a page
      * +1 a page and then share it
      * undo +1

      so you can use the feature that you like.

    2. I Agree the +1 feature should stick around maybe they should add an option to share without +1'ing the item/page to Alexs list above.

      The other disheartening thing about +1's is that if you are using them as a way of bookmarking (without actually adding a browser BM) then there should also be a way to search your own +1's. And you should also be able to restrict the search to +1's from your G+ stream.

      The other, other thing is there is no intent in android that allows you to +1 without sharing.

      Maybe you could do a post about the fractured state of sharing/social bookmarking on G+

  2. Actually this may be a good thing.

    Google has been talking about WebIntents where your browser chooses which website should be used to complete an action based off of your preferences rather than the developers business deals.

    "Share" would be better text than "+1" or "Like" if that is the feature they are delivering. Not to mention that it would reduce the "preferential treatment of Google services" arguments.

    1. I get that. Lets say you are a FB fan instead of a G+ user. You should be able to decide wether or not like/share on FB or +1/share for G+ shows up.

      Although I think Google has a right to self promote their own stuff making it easy to OPT-OUT has always been important to them.

      Regardless of what they settle on the G+ features above should be the default for G+ users.

    2. @Mike

      WebIntents are just like Intents on the Android phone, when the page is rendered they wouldn't know what action you wanted to do. Even if they just read your default, you can override it so you might use the +1 button to share via Twitter, and that is counter-intuitive.

  3. In my opinion this decision has sense. Actually I never fully understood the use of +1 button. The main reason I use facebook Like button is that I want to inform my facebook friends that I liked something. But for Google+ I see no point to +1 a page, because none of my friends gets informed about that on Google+ home stream.

  4. G+ button is analogous to 'Like' button (from another social network). ;) I would to see the G+ button again in search results.

  5. G+ is not easy to use, that my openion :-(

  6. Hi thanks for the post - do you think they are still runnning a test. Or do you expect this feature to roll out quickly. I am from germany, so just wondering when these feature could possibly come to new countries

  7. I don't like how jumpy it makes the search results. Just as you are about to click it it jumps around...

  8. I don't like how jumpy it makes the search results. Just as you are about to click it it jumps around...

  9. It's a backward step. +1 is fine if you know how to use it. Maybe people need educating on it more?

  10. Results bump over the page because of show/hide/show/hide. Chrome.

  11. Sean Liu, product manager at Google, announced the launch of the new feature on his Google+ page.The feature represents a potential major intersection between SEO and social media marketing, as users may see pages move up rankings when a Google+ contact has shared the link.Other implementations of Google+ on Google SERPs have come, including the use of the +1 button on paid search content.Despite recent claims that Google+ now has more than 250 million users, activity on the site remains minimal. Allowing users to share content directly from SERPs may help increase Google+ posts and overall content sharing on the network.However, Google has tried similar things since the launch of Google+, but it has struggled to generate much traffic and popularity for its site.According to Liu, users who click the share button will see a prompt that allows them to include a comment if they want to, before sending it on to Google+.

  12. This is similar to Old Possum/Skip Redirect update Google announced in December, but instead of showing mobile URLs they show a smartphone icon– in a way that’s similar to what they have historically shown in feature phone results. If this becomes a permanent addition to the smartphone SERPs, it could give webmasters more incentive to mobilize their content, as searchers might click through more often to content they know is going to be usable for their device.
    Google has long been pushing webmasters to optimize their content for mobile users, including the launch of the website last November. The Google Mobile Ads team is involved, of course; they wrote on the GoMo blog that 61 percent of users are unlikely to return to a website that isn’t optimized for mobile browsing.
    Mobile optimized sites are a win-win for Google, as helping to improve the user experience also helps Google boost their mobile ad revenue.


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