+1’s don’t add up on Google Plus

A quick tip if you’re just getting started on Google Plus: all +1’s are not created equally. This is worth knowing, because you can share some of your +1’s on your Google Plus profile to indicate when you’ve found content of value. Here’s how it works–and where there’s a discrepancy.

There’s a +1 button on the web at large that works much like the Facebook “like” button that exists on the web at large. Let’s say you’re reading an article on Mashable, and you want to show others you value that content. Just click on the +1 button, as shown here:

If you’re a Google Plus member, that action will also can recorded somewhere else, if you choose: through the +1’s stream on your profile. Think of it as a library with all the links you recommend. Displaying +1’s via your profile isn’t required, but it can help others understand what you’re interested in and allow you to be a resource to them if they’re looking for great content around a shared interest.

It can get confusing, though, due to a discrepancy in how different +1’s get shared. In addition to giving a +1 to content on the web at large, you also can +1 a post on Google Plus itself. Here’s an example:

Now, these +1’s–the ones you make on Google Plus itself–are NOT populated to the +1’s on your profile. The only way to see who has given a Google Plus post a +1 is to look at the post itself.

If this seems confusing, that’s because it is: and the goal of this post is to alleviate some confusion for any new Google Plus users. The one thing I can’t do, however, is explain why this happens. All I can tell you is that I’m confident that the folks at Google know about this discrepancy, and it either happens for a reason or it will change once they get around to it.

In the meantime, happy +1ing!

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