Last week, Google+ team upgraded the +1 button giving it the functionality without which it was little more than a “digital branding iron” for us to use on select websites, rather than cattle. Google+ fans rejoiced as they could finally share links along with their comments in a more unified way. No more need to copy&paste links, at least on the websites that followed along with the new trend and got the +1 button embedded.
Today, I have noticed that the team working on the +1 button took it to yet another level by releasing a Google Chrome extension. This means that the users can now +1 ANY website, even if that website doesn’t have +1 button already embedded. A step which brings +1 button ever closer to its future omnipresence. The moment when every browser will be equipped with a +1 button cannot come soon enough. I am sure that many Google+ users will ‘like’ that reality (+7K already do) . I just don’t know how much Facebook will ‘like’ it.
Thus far from my experience with the new +1 extension, I can report that it works, albeit in a bit limited capacity. Yes, it does let you +1 any website, but it lacks the functionality of the embedded +1 button where you can chose who to share with, add a comment, and finally post a neat snapshot of the website to your stream. The extension button, instead of keeping up with the embedded +1 button, regresses to the “digital branding iron” mentioned earlier. Don’t even try to hover your mouse over the extension button in hope of the fancy dialog box popping up – it’s not going to happen, at least for now.
Some of the additional complaints include lack of ability to switch between multiple accounts – a feature that might appear once Google+ for business is finally released (perhaps sooner than we think). The more picky users dis the design of the button, claiming it could use some more anti-aliasing – for god’s sake, it’s a button, alright! Who cares about the way it looks, when all it needs to do is work! And as I said earlier, it kind of does.
I also noticed some significant lag in syncing between the website-embedded +1 button and the chrome extension. If you +1 anything using the extension, you will have to refresh the website in order to see your +1 reflected on the embedded +1 button, and vice-versa (I don’t know if that makes any sense, but try it and let me know if you experience the same behavior).
Despite all that nagging about how this doesn’t work and how that could be improved, the fact is that having this extension is better than not having it at all. And knowing the dedication of Google+ team, we will soon see an improved version. What I would like to see in the future of any +1 button, is the ability to preview my previous comment or have a way to link directly to where the comment was posted in my stream (at this point it takes me to +1 tab that displays only the link sans the comments). Maybe I’m wishing too much for a service similar to Diigo. But, hey, one can dream, right?