Google is trying its hand again at becoming more social.

After the lukewarm reception of Google Buzz, and having to settle with the FTC for violating privacy practices for the way it was launched (everyone with a Gmail account was opted in by default), Google is taking another stab at adding a social layer to its search results.

This move is a natural reaction to the growing influence of Social Networks and Facebook’s growing presence.

As of today, Facebook claims to have over 600 million registered users, and that approximately 50% of their active users log onto Facebook in any given day, with approximately 26 percent of them hitting the “Like” button on posted items once they log in.

Add to that the growing availability of Facebook “Like” buttons in many top destinations such as Pandora.com, NYTimes.com, WSJ.com and many others – and Google definitely has to worry.

Why is this such a big deal?

Two words: Social Search

Seen as the next new frontier in search, this is when search results are based on the opinions and feedback from friends and people in your social networks.

By involving people into the selection process, Social Search changes the whole equation of what a search result consists of.

For example, who would you trust to tell you more accurately and objectively about a brand new restaurant or where to go on vacation? Would you trust google which lists paid search links along with computer based organic results or what your friends think?

Enter Google +1

 


Google +1 is a new feature being launched today that allows users signed into their google accounts to be able to give a +1 to search results they “Like.”

 

In essence, just as in Facebook, Google posts search result and if you Like a specific link, you can issue a “+1” to it.

The concept is that as more and more users “+1” their way through search results, it will be easier for you to navigate and select the best links to click on from all the Bazillion number of different possible options beyond just the top 10 options or sponsored links.

Expect to see it in more places…

+1’s are currently only displayed to people who join to participate at Google Experimental Labs (I’ve already joined) but over time, we will surely see these on websites, on browsers and many other places to compete with the growing presence of Facebook’s Like button.

What do you think? Is it too late for Google to jump on the social band wagon? Can they beat Facebook at their own game?

 

 

 

 

Music video by U2 performing One – Anton Corbjin Version. (C) 1992 Universal-Island Records Ltd. under exclusive licence to Mercury Records Limited

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