Google is making a big new push into social with a feature called “+1” that is similar in purpose to the Facebook “Like” button, but integrated directly into the world’s biggest search engine.
Starting Wednesday, users who opt into the +1 button experiment (and soon everyone else) in Google Labs will start seeing a +1 icon next to each link in Google search results…
Google defines this action as a “public stamp of approval,” and it is exactly that. When you +1 something, your name becomes associated with that link “in search, on ads, and across the web,” according to the company. It also shows up in a feed on your Google Profile, which is required to use the product.
The move builds on a number of social features that Google introduced in search earlier this year, such as the ability to see which friends have tweeted a given link in search results. Today’s move, however, is clearly something much bigger.
Beyond showing up in search results, Google plans to offer to publishers a +1 button that lets readers +1 something without leaving the publisher’s site. Facebook has a big head start here with its Like button — some 2 million sites and counting have it installed — but Google’s button will instantly have a lot of appeal, given the company says +1 data will directly influence its market share dominating search rankings. Similarly, we have to imagine that +1 is more bad news for content farms, whose content is less likely to be shared.