NEW YORK (
took another stab at social networking by giving users a "+1" button on sites that appear in search results.
"Like" button on Web sites, the +1 indicates to people in your Google contact list that you recommend the discovery.
The move would help Google catch up to Facebook on the personalization front by making sites stand out in a ranking by people who may have similar interests.
"The idea makes a lot of sense. If you're searching, it's nice to see if there are any answers that are recommended by your friends," Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief at
Search Engine Land
, wrote Wednesday on
Google's ultimate aim seems to be not only in tailoring search results to a user's interests, but zeroing in on the types of advertising that would most appeal to search customers.
The +1 button will start appearing next to search results for people who have Google profiles. In the coming months, Google plans to add the +1 button to Web sites alongside Facebook's "Like" and
Google also plans to add the +1 button to ads so that users have the option to recommend advertisements. Google is trying to sell this idea to advertisers by likening the process to a
recommendation that could put a product or service out in front of users.
Google's previous efforts to play in the social networking arena have been ham-handed and somewhat troublesome. On Wednesday, Google
with the Federal Trade Commission over the personal information sharing practices of Google Buzz.
The major fault with Buzz, in addition to the fact that it didn't catch on well with users, was that people found their profile information and contact lists were automatically shared with others. Google later modified the settings, allowing users clearer instructions on how to opt in or out.
Even though Google dominates two-thirds of the search market, it has been unable to answer the biggest threat to its empire: Facebook. Google's vulnerability to Facebook is in the quality of its search results, and therefore the relevance of its advertising. Facebook's trusted friends' community gives it a leg up in areas like recommendations where advertisers tout their wares.
Google shares were up 0.1% to $582.14 in early trading Thursday.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: email@example.com.To follow Scott on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/MoritzDispatch.>To send a tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.