More Buttons Coming to a Site Near You: Twitter Follow and Google +1

It’s a big day for buttons today. Twitter just introduced its new Follow button and thanks to an unfortunate leak, we also know that Google is planning to launch its +1 button for third-party sites tomorrow. Twitter’s Follow button has long been overdue. It allows site owners to give their visitors a chance to follow their accounts with just a few clicks. Google’s +1 button is part of the company’s efforts to add more social signals to its search results. Whenever somebody +1s a story on a third-party site, this information will appear in their friends’ search results if that page appears (and can also push sites up on their friends’ search results pages).

Twitter Follow Button

follow_buttonIn some ways, Twitter’s Follow button currently feels like the forgotten stepchild of the Facebook Like box. As Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan noted on Twitter earlier today, the fact that it doesn’t show the faces of followers like Facebook’s box feels like a missed opportunity. According to Twitter developer Ryan Sarver, though, this feature could be coming in a future release.

Will People Use Google’s +1 Buttons

We’ll write more about Google +1 buttons once they’re released tomorrow, but one of the reasons why I’ve been rather skeptical about Google’s +1 initiative is that there really isn’t a good reason why a user would press the +1 button instead of the Facebook ‘like’ button or a Twitter share button instead.

I’m not aware of any research about this, but my guess is that most users who do use these tools only pick one button when they decide to share a story with their friends and then move on. With Facebook and Twitter, it’s clear where those shares end up. With +1, they could one day end up on a friend’s search results page, but I’m not sure that provides enough motivation for somebody to actually use this feature.