You may recall that back in May, we spotted something in Google’s “Dear Sophie” commercial: an unreleased +1 Chrome extension. This was pre-Google+, when the +1 button still didn’t do a whole lot, so even I forgot about the extension over the past few months. But very quietly, Google actually launched it yesterday.
There was no blog post, no featured placement in the Chrome Web Store — pretty much no fanfare beyond Google SVP of Chrome, Sundar Pichai, posting a link to it on Google+. But it has the potential to be a bigger deal than it seems on the surface.
As the tagline indicates, the Google +1 Button extension allows you to “+1 a web page, anywhere you go on the web”. That’s important. You no longer have to rely on a site to implement the +1 Button, you can invoke the functionality through your browser. Imagine if Facebook made their own browser and offered an extension to “Like” any page on the web through it — same idea (and one that I still suspect will happen sooner or later).
Right now, the +1 Button just shares content you like on the web. But eventually, the plan is to look at this data as a way to affect Google Search itself potentially. That’s huge. The button also is starting to play a role in how Google serves up advertising to you. Again, huge — though these concepts may make people wary of such a button.
As Google notes in their description of the app:
Yes, you read that correctly, “all of the pages and URLs you visit will be sent to Google” — and that’s even if you don’t click the button. Nefarious or not, that will worry some people.
And while the +1 Buttons for websites just added the functionality to share your Google+ Circles, the extension doesn’t yet offer that — but I assume it will. It does offer +1 counts though already, which is nice.
Find the extension here. Again, it’s Chrome only for now, we’ll see if they create ones for Firefox, IE, and Safari as well.
Update: For those concerned about privacy, Google pointed me to this page: How the +1 button respects your privacy.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...