Prior reports indicated that "+1" would arrive in the form of a blue button located on the revamped menu bar stretched across Google's applications. But instead, the new social button will now appear alongside search results and later on external web pages (like the current Facebook and Twitter buttons), in essence serving as a makeshift stamp of approval for things surfers come across while trolling the Internet.
"Say, for example, you’re planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif," explains Google product manager Rob Spiro. "When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area. Or if you’re looking for a new pasta recipe, we’ll show you +1’s from your culinary genius college roommate. And even if none of your friends are baristas or caffeine addicts, we may still show you how many people across the web have +1’d your local coffee shop."
In order for Google users to hit that magic button, they first need a public Google profile. This helps web surfers see who is recommending what (like developers recommending their own games), and also allows those with your email address to see your recommendations. All +1 scores are saved in a new tab stored in the Google profile (next to About, Buzz, etc), and can either be made private or exposed as a growing list for public viewing.
"The beauty of +1’s is their relevance—you get the right recommendations (because they come from people who matter to you), at the right time (when you are actually looking for information about that topic) and in the right format (your search results)," Spiro wrote.
He goes on to explain how Google determines which +1 recommendations it shows to users. "Like social search, we use many signals to identify the most useful recommendations, including things like the people you are already connected to through Google (your chat buddies and contacts, for example). Soon we may also incorporate other signals, such as your connections on sites like Twitter, to ensure your recommendations are as relevant as possible. If you want to know who you're connected to, and how, visit the “Social Circle and Content” section of the Google Dashboard."
For those who want to start the +1 sensation early, Google users must be signed into their account and then head to the experimental search site. The actual service will arrive in English to Google.com first, and then slowly roll out to other branches sometime thereafter. In the meantime, Google has provided a video to better explain what +1 means to Google users and how it will compete with Facebook's "Like" and other social buttons.
You'll never guess what I've already recommended.