Google +1 finally unveiled, probably not what you expected it to be
It's a big day for Google, what with the announcement that Kansas City (not that Kansas City, but the other one that's actually in Kansas) has been selected to be the lucky town to get wired up with Google Fiber -- but that's not all they've gone public with today. Their "+1" project, which has been the subject of conjecture for months, was finally unveiled as well.
Google didn't exactly surprise anyone by announcing +1, but they did throw plenty of people for a loop. +1 isn't what most people expected it to be; it's technically social, but it's not social like a social network. The phrase "plus one" has nothing to do with dining out or going to parties. Google Profiles did not suddenly gain any sort of hyper-social layer. No, its name is actually more literal than even those examples, because all +1 is, is a tiny little box that says "+1" next to search results.
Basically, +1 is a "Like" button for Google Search.
The idea behind +1 is that while you're searching, you can "+1" results that you want to vouch for (or just plain love). When your friends go searching for something related that brings up those results, they'll be able to see that you've "+1'd" them. There will also be a tab added to your Google Profile just for +1, so you can see all your recommendations (and delete them).
Search results aren't the only things that are going to get tagged with your +1's, though; you can expect ads to display them as well, if you happen to +1 something that can afford them. You'll also have a chance in the coming months to +1 sites directly, as socially-savvy businesses and blogs begin to add great big +1 buttons to their sidebars for visitors to lather the "like" on them easier. Hitting a +1 button on a website is the same as doing so for a search result pointing to that website, so you can see the incentive for site-owners.
As with everything that Google rolls out, it's going to take a while for everybody to start seeing little +1's all over their search results. Technically, the service isn't even active yet unless you go to Google Experimental Search and enroll in the experiment, but even after doing that my search results are barren and antisocial. So don't fret if you can't see them yet, just rest easy knowing that it's not the second coming of Buzz after all. It's just a like button.