Google Targets Facebook ‘Like’ Button with Its Own ‘+1′ Button

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Google is taking another step towards its own social network without actually building its own social network (the company insists it’s only building social layers on top of the web) with the “+1″ button.

If you’re down with Facebook’s “Like” button, then Google’s hoping you’ll use the new +1 button, too. Simply put, here’s how Google explains +1:

“Use +1 to give something your public stamp of approval, so friends, contacts, and others can find the best stuff when they search. Get recommendations for the things that interest you, right when you want them, in your search results.”

The “others” part that comes after friends and contacts is important, as “others” means everybody:

“Your +1’s are public. They can appear in Google search results, on ads, and sites across the web. You’ll always be able to see your own +1’s in a new tab on your Google Profile, and if you want, you can share this tab with the world.”

So you’ll have some control over items you’ve +1’d and you’ll be able to share a page with all your +1’d items on it, but remember that anything you’ve +1’d can show up in Google’s search results for all to see.

Results from people you actually know and are connected to via your Google Profile will be presented more explicitly, while items that have been +1’d by strangers may simply appear with the sum total of +1s.

Says Google:

“Say, for example, you’re planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif. 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.”

You’ll be able to +1 Google ads and search results right away, and it won’t be long before +1 buttons start appearing on websites next to Facebook “Like” and Twitter re-tweet buttons.

Google will “be slowly rolling out +1’s, starting in English on Google.com” but if you don’t want to wait, you can flip the switch yourself on Google’s experimental settings page right now.

Read: +1’s: the right recommendations right when you want them—in your search results [Google]

More on TIME.com:

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