Google Already Has An Invisible Like Button For Google Me, You Just Don’t Know It

Another day and I read another post on how Facebook’s Like button is slowly obliterating Google’s Link as the next currency of the web. The pondered question in this case is what is going to be Google’s counter-offensive against the Like.

The assumption is that Google as a search engine has worked on the principle of ranking web pages according to the number of other pages linking to it. Well, here’s the deal: when a person likes something on the web, in most cases, a link is created. Google can see this Link, and hence can understand and incorporate the Like, in its scheme of things.

This mechanism has already been publicized by Google, but I’m surprised how many folks still keep discovering it as if it were something new. For example, see this from yesterday.

Google’s Invisible Like Mechanism

Google’s Like mechanism was announced by Google in Oct 2009 in a blog post announcing Social Search, which linked to this help article that explains how it works in the background.

Google Socal Search Like Button

The battle is between Facebook’s Like and Google’s Profiles. For Facebook to capture your Like, it requires you to have an account on Facebook. For Google to capture your Likes, you need to have a Google Profile. Now, let’s compare what Facebook and Google can capture:

Facebook can capture only your Facebook Likes.

Google Profiles can capture:

  • Public content you share on Facebook
  • All tweets on Twitter
  • All shares on Google Reader
  • All shares on FriendFeed
  • All status updates on LinkedIn
  • All favorites from YouTube
  • All likes, faves, photos from Flickr and Picasa
  • All bookmarks from Delicious
  • All stories you have Digged
  • Everything you have Stumbled Upon
  • Everything you have Disqused
  • All your Blogger and WordPress blog posts
  • And dozens of existing and future sites using the XFN or FOAF standards (see FAQ)

Get the picture? From a technical standpoint, Google has all the arms and ammunition to capture Likes across a plethora of social websites. If you have a Google Profile, every action on any of your connected social websites (sort of) results in a Like being submitted to Google.

Google’s Challenge

Presentation: Currently, Google is surfacing all this behind-the-scenes information only through Social Search results. Google doesn’t have a social web site where you can see your friends’ Likes and interact with them. This is potentially the core of what Google Me is all about.

Numbers: Facebook has 500 million, very few have Google Profiles. We have been waiting for that big push for Google Profiles. It is imminent, and apparently, very close.

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