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Google: "You +1 me, you really +1 me?"

Search engine giant invites users to recommend sites with the click of a button. Will it have Facebook quaking in its boots?

GOOGLE HAS LAUNCHED its very own ‘like’ button, by asking users to click +1.

The search engine is encouraging people to put their stamp of approval on sites they like, and to share  their recommendations with friends.

This latest foray into social networking by Google comes following its disastrous Google Buzz effort, which yesterday was the subject of a settlement between Google and the Federal Trade Commission in the US over a privacy flaw.

It’s thought that the +1 button is an attempt to wrestle some power back from Facebook’s ‘like’ button dominance.  Facebook last year joined up with Microsoft’s search engine Bing in an effort to use ‘likes’ to improve search results. Microsoft meanwhile is planning to file a European antitrust complaint against Google, claiming that Google is engaging in a number of anti-competitive practices.

So what’s in the +1 button for Google? John Kennedy from Silicon Republic poses the question:

The creation of a +1 button by Google is an evolution of Google’s inexorable drive into social, but is it really about social or more of  a way to get people to sort the wheat from the chaff in search today? [Is] Google +1 really a crowd-sourced security measure for search?

The public endorsements given by users to certain sites will also be of great interest to online advertisers, and as Google’s Jim Prosser explains, all ads will eventually get a +1 button.

How does it work?

Google has compiled a handy video to explain:

The +1 button is currently available to users who visit Google’s experimental site and opt in to try it out.