Is Google +1 The First Step to Social Search?

In what appears to be the continued “Facebookification” of Google, and a hopeful giant step forward in search, Google announced the launch of it’s social search service +1. Simply put, Google’s +1 feature is a “like” button for search results. After years of attempting to purchase social networks from Friendster to Twitter, Google has delivered what could be their best social innovation offering in +1.

Social Search +1′s Big Benefit: Voting on Search Results

In a nutshell, Google has been taking criticism for years for their search algorithm, delivery of old link search results, and allowing the gaming of the algorithmic system of search by black hat SEO companies.

According to BusinessInsider.com “The big benefit that +1 delivers is that the service will let users vote on search results, then will use the votes as a factor in ranking results.” Could this be the beginning of a new era where gaming the search algorithm no longer is the focus of search engine optimization? Could this be Google’s social graph answer to their critics?

Get Started Using +1

Although it’s still technically in beta and not available to everyone, here are a few of the steps to take in order to begin using +1:

  • +1 Sign Up: Here is a quick tutorial on how to sign up for +1
  • Google Profile: Users will need a Google Profile to use +1. After you  create a profile, your contacts are accumulated from sources like your Gmail contact list as well as people you follow on Google Reader
  • Experimental Version: once you have created your profile, you will be asked to opt-in to one of the “experimental” versions of +1
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