Google launches +1 for webmasters

Somewhat late to the game, Google has finally jumped on the social bandwagon to create their own version of the Facebook "like" button. The "+1" button has been in preview in the Google search results for a few weeks, but as of yesterday they've now made this available to webmasters too.

As a user, once you've signed in to Google, all your +1's appear on a new tab on your profile page - by default only visible to yourself, but you can make these public.

As the use of these grows, it's seems pretty clear that if you're not integrating +1 to your website, then you're going to be missing out long term on your search rankings. Matt Cutts has confirmed that “it’s definitely a signal we’re paying a lot of attention to,” and added “It has tons of potential. It looks very promising.”. Perhaps the genuine sites that have been suffering since the Google "Panda" update will start to benefit from this too.

The release of "+1" came as Eric Schmidt admitted that during his time as Chief Executive he'd missed the importance of "the friend thing". The disaster that was Buzz did little to address this, but it seems Google have at least started their fightback against Facebook's domination in this space.

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