If you still don’t get how much Google is behind ensuring Google+ gets everything it needs to succeed, consider the screenshot below, showing how for the first time ever, Google’s home page now lets you do something other than search. You can share. Social is now coequal with search.
Search, Meet Share
OK, perhaps the coequal part is up for debate. After all, the search box remains the largest part of the page. But the new share box is pretty noticeable, showing up in the top right corner of the page:
Click on the Share button, and a new box opens up, allowing you to share content out to Google Plus:
Home Page No Longer Just For Search
Until now, Google’s home page has never allowed you to directly do anything other than search. Navigation links leading to other Google services have long been a feature. But they took you away from the home page to do your business.
Even when Google rolled out its iGoogle personalized home page, widgets for that weren’t allowed to touch the main and “pure” search page that people would see.
Google has used its home page to promote products, such as various Android phones or its Chrome browser. That produced an interesting double-stacking for Search Engine Land corresponding editor Greg Sterling, as shown to the right.
However, even with the promotions, people still were taken away from the home page rather than transacting on it.
Will People Like It, Use It?
This is a pretty significant change, I’d say. Google announced it earlier this month. We even covered that it was coming. But when I actually saw it go live for me today, that’s really when it struck home what a big shift it was.
Personally, if find it intrusive. I don’t get why I want to go to the Google home page to share content on Google+. Rather, I’ll go to Google+, if I want to do that.
But others might prefer to go straight to the Google home page, so perhaps they’ll find this useful. Some have already said so in a discussion I started at Google+ about the change.
Certainly it keeps Google consistent with Facebook, which doesn’t require you to go to some particular area to post an update.
Sharing Beyond The Home Page
The box also appears on the search results page, and I was bemused to see that it can sometimes cover up the ads that Google is showing:
The box also appears throughout Google, when you’re on one of its various sites. You’ll see it within Gmail, Google Maps, Google News and so on.
Disappointingly, the box has no intelligence to it. If you’re on Google Maps and want to share a link to a location, you have to use a different sharing option. On Google News and want to share the page you’re viewing? Copy and paste the URL is the option. Done a search and want to share those search results? Copy and paste again.
YouTube seems the exception to sharing. Over there, there’s no sharing box as elsewhere. (Postscript: I got a tip that newer YouTube accounts do have the sharing button).
Want the box for yourself? It’s rolling out slowing over the coming weeks, so hang in there, if you don’t see it.
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- Google+ Is Slowly Invading Google’s Main Search Results
- When Everyone Gets The Vote: Social Shares As The New Link Building