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Google “Likes” the Like Button

How successful has the Like button been? So successful that two of the best-known names in the modern web space—Google and Wikipedia—are copying it.

Google has scrambled to catch up with Facebook, and in late March 2011 it debuted the +1 button, which it defines as a public stamp of approval. You can see “plus ones” in Google search results, ads, and your Google profile. Google+ uses your Google contacts (from your Gmail, Google Buzz, and Google Reader) to tell you who has “plus-oned” things.22 Unfortunately, it’s ugly and mathematical and previous Google social media efforts have fallen flat. It seems like only Google employees think it will give Facebook a run for its money.

Wikipedia’s Love button, which became available in late June 2011, was a bit cuddlier but has never been that visible to most users. Clearly it takes more than social approval buttons to make a splash in social media.

What does this mean for Facebook? When two of the other biggest names on the Internet are copying you, you know you have a winner. But it also means that Facebook’s success as the biggest player in social media is difficult, maybe even impossible, to reproduce.

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