Google releases +1 button
Google has released its +1 button that allows users to recommend content as they browse the web.
+1 is Google's answer to Facebook's Like button. If you're logged in to Google you can +1 search results and ads to indicate your endorsement of anything from a boutique hotel to a recipe for pumpkin soup.
Other users connected to you then see your recommendations, with the idea being that what your friends like might be of interest to you and might help you filter through an increasingly crowded online environment.
Facebook's Like button works in a similar way. If you Like some online content, your Facebook friends get alerted via their newsfeeds and if you search on Bing, Microsoft's search engine, you'll see your friends' Facebook Likes in the results.
The little "thumbs up" Facebook Like button is now a common feature across the web, allowing people logged in to Facebook to Like as they browse.
Google is keen to get in on the act and is now helping webmasters install +1 buttons on their sites.
In a blog post, Google said it had partnered with a number of big online brands including the Washington Post, Reuters and TechCrunch. These brands will be among the first to add +1 buttons to their content.
"+1 is as simple on the rest of the web as it is on Google search," Google said. "With a single click you can recommend that raincoat, news article or favourite sci-fi movie to friends, contacts and the rest of the world.
"The next time your connections search, they could see your +1's directly in their search results, helping them find your recommendations when they’re most useful."
As well as heading off competition from Facebook and Bing, the +1 button also forms part of Google's effort to personalise search results and purge them of spammy, low quality pages in favour of useful, original content.
The Chrome extension released amidst the Panda furore had similar intentions. With this extension enabled users can manually block domains from their search results, with the data helping Google to tweak its algorithm.