Twitter, Google add to the pile of social sharing buttons

Think your favorite website doesn’t have enough buttons? Well, Google and Twitter are releasing some more for you.

Twitter made the more concrete announcement today, unveiling what it calls the Follow button. Publishers add the button to their website, then their fans can click and start following their Twitter accounts right away. Now, most socially savvy websites already include a “Follow us on Twitter” link, and it’s not exactly an arduous task to click on the link and then sign up to follow a company via the Twitter website. Still, the Follow button should make the process even simpler by not requiring readers to leave their current website, in the same way that the Tweet button simplified the not-terribly-complex process of sharing articles.

Last month, I complained that by adding multiple sharing buttons (specifically, Share and Send), Facebook was making things unnecessarily confusing. Twitter’s approach makes more sense, because its buttons represent two distinct use cases, they don’t have nearly-identical names, and they’re embedded on different parts of a website. Twitter’s Ryan Sarver suggested that there may be more features coming soon — namely a Facebook-style panel showing the faces of other people who are already following a website.

Google, meanwhile, let it slip (and is now confirming) that it will be taking the next step in the roll out of its +1 button for sharing search results with your friends. Previously, users could hit the “+1″ button when they were browsing Google search results. Starting tomorrow, publishers will also be able to embed that button on their websites. That should make the feature a little more visible, and it also means users can recommend a website when they’re actually, you know, looking at the website, rather than at a blue link.


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