The Google +1 button is continuing its march across Google properties. The latest recipient is Google Image Search, which now allows users to +1 directly from an image result and which promotes +1'd results to users who are connected to your account.
The +1 button is a Facebook "like" doppelgänger that sees integration with the Google+ social network. First introduced in March of this year, the +1 button quickly saw integration with various Google services.
Google Image Search is especially significant as it's an arm of Google's core business. Since users will both see a promoted image and an "annotation on the images" to indicate who +1'd it (according to the Inside Search blog announcing the addition), the new feature will impact both placement and trust.
As +1s impact image search rankings, they will become a part of media optimization; it may become standard to have a specially configured +1 button next to any high-quality image on a site.
At a minimum, the social search element of promoting +1'd results to connected users will create a new opportunity for exposure. It is also unclear whether +1s will impact image search ranking. Early speculation says that image placement will see about as much impact from +1s as search placement does – which is to say, a visible if very small portion of results will be impacted.
For the time being, the only way to +1 an image is via Google Image Search. I spent some time digging to see if I could find any way to use a +1 button on your site that would also count as a Google Image Search +1 for the selected picture. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find anything; a simple "href" tag (which is already built into the +1 mechanic) doesn't translate as a +1 for the sake of Google Image Search, while attempting to use the full URL string that's noted when you +1 an image via Image Search causes users to +1 a redirect page.
It's likely that Google will release their own re-worked version of the +1 code to accommodate for this additional layer of image optimization. However, if any code gurus have an idea how to tweak the existing +1 code for this purpose, leave us your thoughts in the comments.
At SES London (9-11 Feb) you'll get an overview of the latest tools, tips, and tactics in Paid, Owned, Earned, Integrated Media and Business Intelligence to streamline your marketing campaigns in 2015. Register by 31 October to take advantage of Early Bird Rates.