By Anne Collier
When the New York Times reported that Google is “trying again in social networking,” I thought it meant a significant new product on the level of Chrome or Picasa. Then I read down further: “Google’s +1 is remarkably similar to Facebook’s Like button,” except that you’re “liking” search results. It’s personalized search. When you find a store, news article, recipe, photo, advertisement, etc. and you “+1” it, your family and friends get the benefit of your recommendation, and you don’t have to go the “extra mile” and actually send them an email about it (that would be so tedious, wouldn’t it?). The button only appears if you’re logged into your Google account. The Times reports that your +1’s are purely public to your connections on Google, just as your “Likes” are visible to your Facebook friends, and Google finds your Google connections “through Gmail and chat contacts, as well as people users follow on Google Reader or Buzz. Later it will include contacts from other social sites like Twitter and Flickr. But it will not include contacts from Facebook, because Facebook information is not publicly shared on the Web.” Here’s Google’s video description of +1.