While I was browsing through news stories at MSNBC.com, I could not help but notice the vast difference between the number of people recommended a story on Facebook and +1’ed it on Google. Here are some examples:
Perry to announce campaign for president: Facebook: 997 clicks Google +1: 6 clicks
Warrant singer Jani Lane found dead: Facebook: 330 clicks Google +1: 1 click
Chimp attack victim reveals her new face: Facebook: 7.000 clicks Google +1: 63 clicks
The numbers don’t look very encouraging for +1 to say the least. Oh heck, let’s be honest. +1 is failing.
Why is +1 failing?
+1 is failing because there is no value a user gets from +1’ing anything. If a user clicks the Facebook recommend button, he shares the story with his friends and hopefully exchanges some semi intelligent comments with them. If he tweets and adds his own spin in the remaining 120 characters, maybe he gets retweeted, receives a reply or a new follower, and gets the very much needed boost to his self esteem along with additional klout points.
What if he +1’s something? Does it get shared with his Circles on Google+? Nope. I am betting 99.99% of users would expect that to happen. It is such an obvious use case but it is not happening. Despite the resemblance in the name, +1 and Google+ seem to be entirely disconnected efforts. Does it effect Buzz, Reader or Gmail? No, no, and no. The +1 goes to his Google public profile under the list of links he +1’ed. I bet the person who +1’ed Jani Lane’s death doesn’t even know that.
There is no value for a user to +1 anything. Hence no one does.
Yalım K. Gerger (@yalimgerger)
Update 1: I wrote a follow up post about the points raised in the comments below. You can read it here.
Update 2: As of August 24, 2011, after 12 days publishing this post, Google tied +1 to Google+. It is noteworthy that in the blog post announcing the featue, they talk about how many daily views the +1 button has had so far but not how many times it was actually clicked.
The effects of linking +1 to Google+ remains to be seen. I will be watching closely and blog about it if necessary.