Google beefing up its +1 button

The search giant is adding more options to its +1 button, now letting Google+ users share content with specific circles and even kick-start a conversation about the shared content.

Google is enhancing its familiar Google +1 button to give people more control over the content they share and who they share it with.

Found on many a Web site these days, the +1 button lets people signed in to their Google account share and recommend specific content with their friends and contacts that can then appear as recommended pages in Google's search results. But the button has been limited in that users have only been able to share links publicly and couldn't comment on what their were sharing.

Now Google has tweaked the +1 button, says a blog posted yesterday, giving Google+ users the option to share a page with their circles and offer an opinion on what they're sharing.

When you click on the +1 button, you'll see a new field called "Share on Google+." Clicking in that field gives you the ability to start a conversation by including a comment about the content.

Lance Whitney/CNET

By default, the content gets shared publicly. But by clicking on the option that says "Add more people," you can change your audience by including folks from specific circles. You can also close the button that says "Public" if you want to share the content only with the people you know rather than the entire Google population.

After you've made your comment and chosen your intended audience, you can then click on the Share button to finish.

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Clicking on the new +1 button also displays a linked title, image, and brief description of the item you're sharing, which Google calls "snippets." Web site publishers can customize those snippets, as described in Google's Webmaster blog, to include other information and hopefully drive more Web traffic their way.

The new sharing and snippets options are rolling out gradually over the next week, so they may only be available on a limited number of Web sites for now. But Google+ users eager to see the new +1 button in action now can sign up with the Google+ Platform Preview and then try the button on a site like Rotten Tomatoes to see how it works. The new options are also now available on CNET's Web site.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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