Facebooks Like button has become an ubiquitous part of the web, and of course Google was not be far behind with its own version, the +1 button. Here's my take on +1.
+1 accretes the most detailed database in the history of the planet
Googles +1 (pronounced as Plus One) is the Mountain View juggernauts latest socialization layer and it is meant as a shot across the Facebook bow to prove that anything you can do we can do better. The +1 is currently rolling out but is widely expected to be universal across the Googlegalaxy by this fall. Users who are currently duly enabled see a shadowed +1 symbol to the right of their search result title, just before the preview magnifying lens. Once you click on the +1, you have +1d the link which will then be shown with a gray background, and another handful of bytes will be added to the most detailed database in the history of the planet.
Search for cows in bikinis to see which of your friends have an ungulate fetish
It doesnt stop there as the +1 is essentially a social tool, so once you have selected a link to be +1d you will see tiny thumbnails of the personal photos alongside the names of a couple of the members of your social network, plus the total number of your friends who have also +1d it. This applies also if you have not +1d the link yet but others of your circle have. Not only does this present a superlative voyeuristic opportunity (searching for cows in bikinis will reveal which of your friends have ungulate fetishes) but it also brings the day closer when we will all have webcams grafted to our foreheads so everyone we know can watch everything we do 24/7.
+1 marks the end of absolute SERPs as everyone will see different results
As with nearly everything else that issues from the Googleplex the +1 will influence SERPs as sites with a wealth of +1s within your clique will be promoted upwards. It is also obvious that +1 marks the end of absolute search position as all results will be sifted through your own personal social sieve and the rankings seen through any search entry will be significantly different for every user. Links will not be the only Google elements to be blessed with the +1 as all AdWords ads will also have their own +1 buttons. These ads will be present on all ads, there is no way for an advertiser to opt out, and any clicks on any ads +1 do not count as a paid click. Fortunately advertisers will be able to review their +1 statistics as will users of Google Webmaster Central for their organic search listings.
+1 may be Googles first step towards an open version of Facebook
Googles standard position is that they are not building a social network to confront Facebook, but only adding social layers onto their existing offerings. This policy seems one of the lady doth protest too much as it doesnt take a Ph.D. in computer science and a crystal ball to see Googles end game. Facebook is essentially an updated AOL: A hermetically sealed system which by its nature is essentially limited and limiting. By creating an open alternative in the next couple of years, Google would be able to easily claim the benevolent (?) dictatorship of the cyberuniverse title.
For now, the greatest impact of +1 may be its boost to the economies of Bangladesh and Cameroon, as it is inevitable that Black Hatters will be able to game the system by buying thousands of +1s for a few dollars on freelancer sites until Googles Matt Cutts (a man who has more power over the world economy than any President) gets wise to that and fixes it and then some way of gaming the fix is found then Cutts fixes that and so on until the end of time.