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If you follow everything and anything about the digital space, chances are you’ve heard a bit about Google’s new +1 feature which was just announced this week. If you’re not that deep into the tech game, you may have missed the news entirely.  Either way, I want to break down some info for you about this brand new addition to hit the social media scene so that you can better navigate your choices.

So, what is Google +1, exactly?

Essentially it can be thought of as the company’s branded “Like” button, similar to that of Facebook but functioning somewhat differently.  Now before you groan, this addition of Google is much simpler than Buzz or Wave. It’s just a button.  And it’s simplicity is even echoed in the fact that there didn’t seem to be the big press conference with the Google bigwigs on stage with important sounding presentations ushering this whole thing into play.

Users basically just click on a button while searching in order to share with other friends discoveries they’ve made that they think friends will find of interest.  The functionality will essentially be through their search engine but look for it to potentially show up all throughout the Web via ads, articles, YouTube videos and much, much more.

It’s an interesting development because it demonstrates that Google is continuing to innovate (take that, Bing!) while also making Google more relevant because much of “discovery”  can be found via Facebook friend’s pages, Amazon and more without even using Google. This action could bring Google further back to the front-and-center again (though I think it’s still hugely prominent).

Interested to try it out?  If so, I have to let you know that it’s reportedly rolling out s-l-o-w-l-y.  Users who want to try it immediately have to opt-in for an “experimental” version.  The interesting thing about all of this, however,  is who may end up driving the adoption and expansion of Google +1.  Given that new U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that African-Americans grew by 30% in population since 2000 and Latinos by 45%, and that we actually access social media more frequently than any other demos in the U.S. and that our demo is growing in Web usage while that of the mainstream stagnates; it seems the diverse demo – particularly the younger members – take on a greater and greater role as influencers when it comes such an offering.  Thus, it would be great to see Google create greater collaborations, partnerships and divisions that foster the relationship (see my previous article on Google vs. Bing).

At any rate, here’s a quick how to if you’d like to try it and haven’t yet:

1) create a profile on Google
2) click “join this experiment” to activate
3) conduct a search
4) look for a small +1 icon next to each result
5) click on whichever one in order to add it to  your profile and share with your Google contacts
6) confirm it by hitting the blue button
7) return to your profile and you” see it show up under the “+1” tab

Thing is, wondering how many of you are actually interested in looking at the +1’s of friends consistently.  Is it something you think will be helpful and hot or is are you already on social media overload?  Lemme know below.
Lauren DeLisa Coleman is a writer, speaker and thought-leader specializing in the diverse segment of the Gen X,Y demo, tech and its convergence with socio-economic concerns.  Follow her @mediaempress

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