The +1 Button Just Got Useful: Now Lets You Share Content on Google+

When Google first began rolling out its +1 button, it wasn’t very interesting. Even after Google+ launched, it still wasn’t fully integrated with Google’s new social network. Starting today, though, the +1 button will finally become useful. Over the next few days, Google will roll out an updated version of the button that will allow users to use it to share content with their circles on Google+.  The button will also automatically add text snippets and images from any page you want to share, similar to the feature Google introduced on Google Books earlier this month.

Getting Started

It will take a bit before these new features will be available for all users. If you are the impatient type, though, you can also join the Google+ Platform Preview and get immediate access to this new functionality.

Once enabled, you will see a “share on Google+” link whenever you +1 a post. In addition, the buttons now also show you if any of your friends have also +1’ed a given page.

This is what the new interface looks like:

Finally a Reason to Click +1

With this update, Google finally gives users a good reason to click the +1 button. Many publishers already added Google’s buttons to their sites over the last few months (mostly because clicks on it also influence search engine placement) and quite a few users actually click it regularly, even though there was no real benefit to using it until now. All of that is changing today, though, as the +1 button becomes more like the Facebook “like” widget.

If you are a developer or publisher, by the way, Google recommends that you add a few lines of code to every page to ensure that the new snippets work as advertised.