The official statement is: The +1 button is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out”. This blog now has ’em. If you’re one of the (vast majority of) people who are looking at this in one feed-reader or another, you can’t see them, but you might want to glance at the home page to get the feel. Or just open this article in a browser and look down at the bottom.

+1 button

Why? · First of all, anything that makes search better makes the Web better. Right now, the only way to “vote something up” on the Web is by linking to it. I’m a blogger so I can, but it’s out of reach — easy reach, at least — for a whole lot of people. No longer; we’ve added a signal that anyone, reader or writer, can use. Also I’m generally aware of the huge effort taking place here at Google of which +1 is an early manifestation. It’s audacious and smart and I’m a fan. So I want to support it.

Is It Perfect? · Nope; I’ve got my name on some bugs already, but this team is in release-fast-then-iterate-faster mode; the bugs are doomed. In the interim, if you want to drop a +1 button into your site, feel free to View Source here and copy the setup. In particular note the CSS styling under .p1inline for the front-page buttons.

There are a couple of big issues; I’m not sure they fall into the category of “bug” or “policy”. First, I’d also like there to be a -1 button. Second, I’d like the buttons to work in RSS and Atom feeds, in such a way that feed reader authors don’t have to do anything in particular for it to Just Work. Let’s see how that goes.

An Argument · You’ll notice that the +1 button is at the bottom of the article. When I was debugging this yesterday, a couple of Googlers suggested it should be at the top, so as to be above the fold; or maybe both places. Huh? Why would you ever +1 something you haven’t read through to the end? But they’re smart people, so maybe I’m just weird.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Kevin Marks (Jun 03 2011, at 14:56)

I've argued for a -1 before with Vote Links, but the closest we got was an abstain with rel="nofollow".

Matt Cutts told me that PageRank doesn't converge mathematically if you allow negative votes, so that was why.

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From: Michael Joyce (Jun 03 2011, at 14:57)

I wish I could +1 individual paragraphs, the fourth of this post in particular. There's a very attractive symmetry to +1/-1. Making the buttons work in RSS/Atom feeds is just plain good sense.

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From: Hub (Jun 03 2011, at 15:01)

I agree about the button at the bottom. It makes more sense. But maybe they just mean that the count should be visible at first, which also make sense.

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From: Jens Zalzala (Jun 03 2011, at 15:10)

Odd, the +1 button doesn't show up when viewing the site on an Android (at least not on the Galaxy Tab (7")).

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From: scottnottheotherscott (Jun 03 2011, at 15:18)

I have to say, I think a -1 button needs to be approached with extreme caution. Can anyone say, "DDOS?"

http://www.raphkoster.com/2009/10/07/building-web-reputation-systems-the-blog-the-dollhouse-mafia-or-dont-display-negative-karma/

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From: Brennan (Jun 03 2011, at 15:21)

Yeah, as another commenter noted the +1 button is absent from android. Or at least absent in the browser that ships with 2.2 anyways.

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From: John Cowan (Jun 03 2011, at 15:34)

Plainly the button needs to be at the top, so that mutual backscratchers can +1 each other without even waiting for the page to load, never mind reading it.

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From: Philip Storry (Jun 03 2011, at 15:50)

Like yourself, I think it should be at the end of an article - or at least in the navigation in a sidebar.

Sticking +1 at the top is just asking for uninformed trouble - if nothing else, I could game the system by Mechanical Turk-style means that much more easily.

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From: Mitch Wright (Jun 03 2011, at 15:51)

The point of having +1 at the top is so you can determine whether it is worth reading.

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From: Andrew (Jun 03 2011, at 15:55)

Not sure where to report this bug (maybe you could pass it on for me) but when I hover over your +1 button on this page I get the following text:-

Click here to publicly +1 this as Andrew O'Reilly (andrewo@gmail.com).

Yes, I have an apostrophe in my surname and I am seeing the O followed by ampersand followed by pound and then 39; in the tooltip.

What's frustrating to me is that apostrophe bugs just never seem to go away. Given the lack of progress in the last 10 years I really think that they'll be around for the rest of my lifetime.

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From: DeWitt Clinton (Jun 03 2011, at 16:13)

Andrew, thanks for the report about the apostrophes. I'll file it asap.

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From: Alex Popescu (Jun 03 2011, at 16:47)

For a long time I had been convinced bookmarking/votes/etc should be at the end of the article. At least that's what common sense would tell anyone.

Then I've run extensive test over blogs and some larger websites. The results have completely contradicted my expectations.

Since then my general conclusion is: don't think you know anything about your visitors. Just test it out.

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From: Chris E (Jun 03 2011, at 17:19)

The main problem with all of google's social media efforts is their extremely (and almost deliberately) poor privacy control.

Why does the world and his dog need to know that I like something?

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From: Kevin H (Jun 03 2011, at 17:55)

Neat, but in the Google spirit of making data-driven decisions, wouldn't it be prudent for you to A/B test with a Facebook "Like" button?

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From: Eric Meyer (Jun 03 2011, at 18:24)

I don't see the +1 in Camino 2, either. Still trying to decide whether that makes me sad or pleased.

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From: Nick P (Jun 03 2011, at 18:34)

Chris E, yes. They should have an option to vote anonymously across all sites if they want to get honest data.

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From: Alex (Jun 03 2011, at 18:52)

A review of google +1: http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2011/06/02/google-plus-1-review

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From: Lisa Miller (Jun 03 2011, at 21:13)

I agree that common sense dictates the +1 button should be at the end of the article to indicate the reader's approval. We have, however, been trained by consensual web practices to look for stuff at the top.

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From: Smokey Ardisson (Jun 03 2011, at 21:42)

Eric Meyer: However you may feel about the “service” itself, I’m predicting you’ll feel sad about the reason the buttons don’t show up in Camino 2: user-agent sniffing!

They’re present in Camino 2.1 nightlies (though I wrote some CSS yesterday to hide them, since I’m also not sure if I’m happy or sad), but oddly enough I got neither error messages nor debug build log spam from Camino 2; the buttons simply failed to appear. I then plugged my Camino 2.1 nightly UA string into Camino 2, and the buttons magically appeared on reload. :P (The buttons also seem to work in Camino 2-with-2.1-nightly-UA, insofar as clicking prompts me to log in and set up my profile for “plus-one-ing” things. I stopped at that point, though; I’d like to bump useful things in Google’s search results, but not enough that I’m going to allow myself to be subjected to another faux-social data compilation project.)

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From: Stefan Tilkov (Jun 04 2011, at 00:41)

I somehow can't help to notice that you don't seem to mention that people might object to the +1 button because it's under the control of a single company (as opposed to a link). How is that in line with the spirit of the open Web?

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From: Matěj Cepl (Jun 04 2011, at 00:53)

-1 for whole idea. First, it looks like yet another "Me too" activity for which Google becomes to be famous. Instead of doing something creative, you are just copying what Facebook invented.

I am afraid that whole idea of pushing my opinion into one button as completely misguided. Yes, I wrote about it on http://matej.ceplovi.cz/blog/?p=135 so just a summary: it should be just a mean how to send a comment somewhere (identi.ca, twitter, Buzz, or even Facebook). And of course, I would prefer not to store my data with an advertising agency, but that is not the crux of this issue.

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From: Gavin B. (Jun 04 2011, at 02:45)

I'd have thought with Google's plexy history we'd have a

X10 rather than +1 button!

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From: Arve (Jun 04 2011, at 04:57)

<blockquote>In order to +1 things, you first need a public Google profile.</blockquote>

I guess I won't be +1-ing anything, then.

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From: Paul Wallace (Jun 04 2011, at 05:40)

Doesn't seem to work for google apps accounts, guess this is part of the work in progress.

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From: Art (Jun 04 2011, at 06:13)

But most folks don't have the patience to get to the bottom before they'll want to +1 it. This looks neat -- others should read it.

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From: Nick P (Jun 04 2011, at 07:52)

Chris E, yes. They should have an option to vote anonymously across all sites if they want to get honest data.

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From: Chris E (Jun 04 2011, at 08:16)

"Chris E, yes. They should have an option to vote anonymously across all sites if they want to get honest data."

Heh. There's no need for this - however, why not give you the ability to vote and just have your contacts see it?

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From: Duncan Cragg (Jun 04 2011, at 13:53)

It doesn't show up in Firefox 3.0 on Ubuntu 8.10/intrepid (perhaps not surprising; bit behind-the-times technology here in the creaking Cragg Tower).

Plus it adds three more errors to your validation output:

http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tbray.org%2Fongoing%2FWhen%2F201x%2F2011%2F06%2F02%2FPlus-one&charset=(detect+automatically)&doctype=Inline&group=0

:-)

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From: Jacek Kopecky (Jun 04 2011, at 17:26)

Like some commenters, I'm also nervous about +1 controlled by a single company. But now we have two big ones, this is a good step to making this open, ultimately.

And on a related note, I like your reasoning about the button being at the end of the article; how about extending the reasoning and adding the link to contribute a comment also after the comments? I seldom want to comment before seeing if it wasn't commented already by someone else.

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From: Substance McGravitas (Jun 04 2011, at 17:36)

I have a creepy feeling about it in a political sense - true believers are gonna push their goofy ideas up the Google ladder? There are of course methods you've described regarding linking, but if +1 means "cancer therapy" returns more hits for bleach-drinking advocacy that may be a problem.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/15/miracle-mineral-solutions-mms-bleach

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From: Trung Duc Tran (Jun 05 2011, at 02:23)

I've clicked on the +1 icon on this blog entry, a new browser window pops up with:

"Oops... you need a Google profile to use this feature.

Google Profiles is not available for your organization."

What is Google profile? (sarcasm)

(Chrome brower, with my GMail account logged in in another tab)

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From: Neel Krishnaswami (Jun 05 2011, at 03:36)

The profusion of +1 logos on your blog's front page is quite ugly. They are very colorful, and not aligned with each other in any way, so they create unpleasant visual noise.

Perhaps you could modify the page's CSS so that they only become visible when the mouse is hovering over their item? You already do this for paragraph markers.

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From: g (Jun 05 2011, at 13:51)

Strongly agree with Neel: ugly, ugly, ugly. Please make them go away if you care at all about the appearance of your home page.

(Of course, maybe you like the way they look. Maybe everyone does apart from me and N.K.)

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From: carlos (Jun 06 2011, at 08:06)

In the absence of a "-1" button you could use your logs to enhance the "+1" buttons title text to read something like:

9 people +1d this; 63482 people didn't

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From: dave hollander (Jun 06 2011, at 10:09)

+1 using some assumption (cookie) about my identity keeps me from using it -- just as having to have a facebook account keeps me from the "like" button.

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From: Michael P. (Jun 07 2011, at 05:01)

It looks like +1 performance is terrible and contributes significantly to page load times. See the analysis at http://www.aaronpeters.nl/blog/google-plus1-button-performance-review

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From: Bill Parks (Jun 07 2011, at 08:47)

I'm not aware of any correlation between popularity and worth or value. Usually quite the opposite. Like all popularity contests, this is a terrible idea.

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From: Aleks Totic (Jun 15 2011, at 12:48)

Aw Google. You can do better.

How do I really feel about +1: copycat, inferior copy of Like, makes me feel like a cog doing my part for search quality assurance, my mom won't get it.

Now that is off my chest, can you please do something cool?

Since Google has Messina on staff, can you please implement #iSay. What is iSay, you say?

It's a button like +1, with magical #powers. The magical power is to let me apply any hashtag to any page. How cool is that? one little button, tying together lots of good ideas: twitter, hashtags, blekko, social.

Now you have another communication channel goldmine for big G's page rank algorithms to grok on, assigning weights to tags. The web site owners get to put up neat gadgets showing their tag clouds. And we, the users, get new functionality, a hash stash where interesting pages are already categorized. Or a new communication channel to experiment with goofy tags.

Since the tag is just a script, this could be a search experiment to start with.

Pretty please?

You can even call it #!, I'll forgive you.

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June 02, 2011
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