Share Your Search! Google Goes Social With '+1' Button


Google is giving social media another shot—after failing miserably with Google Buzz—by making its search results more shareable.

The search giant has introduced a new "+1 button" within its search pages, which users can click to share search results they find useful or relevant. In addition, Google users will start seeing searches their friends have recommended. For example, below a search result for hotels in a certain vacation spot, a small box might appear reading something like “Joe Smith +1’d this.”

Here’s the part that is sure to stir up controversy: Since Google is not a social network like Facebook, how does it know who your friends are? Google says that it will first start featuring “+1s” from people that a person connects with via Google chat or Gmail, and eventually may start including recommendations from a person’s Twitter feed. So, for sharing, you’ll need to be logged into Google (something that often happens automatically for Gmail or Google Reader users). Or you’ll need to establish a profile.

In announcing +1, Google didn’t mention Facebook, or whether the company would look to feature recommendations from a person’s Facebook friends, which are technically public. Still, the move is clearly aimed at blunting Facebook’s ever-expanding prominence and power—as many in the industry believe that social media will eventually diminish the power of Web searches as more and more users turn to friends for recommendations.

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