Google's search results, and starting this week the +1 buttons are now rolling out to websites to sit next to the usual collection social sharing buttons.
Google +1 is an enticing offer- your endorsement of websites could directly impact on one of the largest and most influential sites on the web. Clearly with this potential website owners will desperately want their readers and fans to take action (anything to improve search ranking). However, as it currently stands I'm actually fairly skeptical that Google +1 will be very popular at all. It seems to be missing the main driving force for social endorsement- the potential for immediate return satisfaction.
Part of what makes content sharing on Facebook and Twitter so popular is because it can deliver immediate ego gratification. On Twitter you can get @replies, ReTweets and even click counts (if you use bit.ly). On Facebook you can get 'likes' and comments. These all add up to an ego boost that fuels people's interest in sharing better and better content. Not to say that it's the only reason people share- but it certainly helps fuel it.
If this is immediate gratification is so important, where is the ego boost, or vanity layer for Google +1? The likelihood that my friends do a Google search that I might have impacted doesn't seem all that common, and even if they do, there isn't an easy way for them to thank me for the help. And there isn't an easy way for them to see a list of sites I'm endorsing to respond to without visiting my Google Profile (which virtually no one looks at yet). Without these critical aspects of return value from sharing, Google +1 seems like something content owners will want but content consumers won't care about. And without that alignment on interests it doesn't seem like to succeed.
So Google, what will you do to improve the fortunes of Google +1?