Google has apparently not learned its lesson when it comes to getting involved in social ventures, and is rolling out a new feature called the +1 button, which is essentially equivalent to Facebook’s “Like” button. If you’ve got a Google profile, you can see what your friends with Google Profiles have +1ed and, unlike Facebook, you don’t send out notifications every time you +1 something. In other words, you only see +1s when you get the site in a search result anyway, so it’s like a personal recommendation tailored to your search.
The other thing that is slightly different than the “like” button is that Google is integrating the results into their overall search engine algorithm. Though they haven’t explained exactly how that will work, one assumes that sites with more +1s will end up higher in the search results than those that haven’t been +1ed. We’ll see how long it takes for businesses to try to take advantage of that.
Social media has been a struggle for Google, especially since their debacle last year with Buzz. Although they immediately addressed the privacy concerns and general uproar, Buzz failed to take off and it earned them a visit from the US Federal Trade Commission for being misleading in their tactics and not upfront about their services.
This +1 button seems to be a nice marriage of what Google already does well, searching, with the more social aspects of the web. Hopefully they can avoid the criticisms they had with Buzz, since this will be strictly opt-in, and it seems like it could further personalize web search results, which is great.
Here's the video introduction from Google: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAyUNI3_V2c