Is Google +1 Button The Next Ranking Signal?

With the unveiling of Google +1, many are asking, is Google trying to duplicate Facebook “Like”button with their Google +1? Google revealed their new social layer Google +1 which they have mentioned repeatedly over the last several months. It looks like Google's social strategy just got a lot closer to Facebook's social strategy. Facebook made huge success when it launched its Open Graph and social plugins which includes the Like Button. Now, nearly a year later, Google is apparently trying to duplicate that.

Do you think Google can duplicate Facebook's success with the "like" button?

Introducing Google +1 Button

The video shows that Google +1 is all about putting a little "+1" button all over the web, in search results, and in ads. It's not quite as catchy as Facebook’s "like", which makes me think that right out of the box, this will not get clicked nearly as much as Facebook's iconic button.
Google +1's are public. Google may show them to any signed-in user who has a social connection to one. However, users can still choose not to have them displayed publicly on their Google Profile.

Does the +1 Button Make the Google Buzz Button Obsolete?

Many will think that with the launching of Google +1, this makes the Google Buzz button obsolete, but Google doesn't think so. According to Google:

"Buzz button[s] are used for starting conversations about interesting web content ('Hey guys, what do you think about this news story?'). +1 buttons recommend web content to people in the context of search results ('Peng +1'd this page'), and +1's from social connections can help improve the relevance of the results you see in Google Search. Soon, you'll be able to use the +1 button, or the Buzz button, or both—pick what's right for your content."

Big News for Search With Google +1

Of course Google puts a major search spin on +1, indicating that it's all about making search results more relevant (this could be achieved with Facebook likes, if the company politics weren't in the way). To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful. These +1's will then start appearing in Google's search results.

When a user searches, while signed in, their search result snippets may be annotated with the names of their connections who have "+1'd" the page. When none of the user's connections have +1'd a page, the snippet may display the aggregate number of +1's the page has received.

Google’s project manager Rob Spiro said:

"Our goal at Google is to get you the most relevant results as quickly as possible. But relevance is about relationships as well as words on webpages. That's why we recently started to include more information from people you know—stuff they've shared on Twitter, Flickr and other sites—in Google search results."

"Today we're taking that a step further, enabling you to share recommendations with the world right in Google's search results."

"Say, for example, you're planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif," he adds. "When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area. Or if you're looking for a new pasta recipe, we'll show you +1's from your culinary genius college roommate. And even if none of your friends are baristas or caffeine addicts, we may still show you how many people across the web have +1'd your local coffee shop."
Google says it uses "many signals" to identify the most useful recommendations, such as people you are connected to through Google (contacts, people in your Google Talk chat list, people you follow in Google Reader and Buzz). Google also says it may start using other signals like Twitter connections. You can always look at you "social circle" on Google's Dashboard to see who you're actually connected to.

Obviously a Google account is required for +1. In fact, a Google Profile is also required. On the Google Profile, you'll see all of the +1s you've clicked (again, kind of like "likes" on the Facebook Wall).

Google's David Byttow, software engineer for the +1 button said:

"We think sharing on the web can be even better--that people might share more recommendations, more often, if they knew their advice would be used to help their friends and contacts right when they're searching for relevant topics on Google."

"We expect that these personalized annotations will help sites stand out by showing users which search results are personally relevant to them," he says. "As a result, +1's could increase both the quality and quantity of traffic to the sites people care about."
What do you think of Google +1?