Google looks to users to improve search

The recent announcement of the Google +1 button got Pocket-lint thinking... How will it influence a websites' page rank? Will it contribute to a better search experience or become the fodder of search engine optimisation professionals.

We got in touch with Google about exactly how +1 would affect their search engine technology. A spokesperson responded:

"Google will study the clicks on +1 buttons as a signal that influences the ranking and appearance of websites in search results. The purpose of any ranking signal is to improve overall search quality. For +1's and other social ranking signals, as with any new ranking signal, we'll be starting carefully and learning how those signals are related to quality."

It looks like Google + 1 is adding a bit more personality to the search. Google's search has been traditionally governed by Google's algorithms but now has a chance to be ranked by how much people like a page or website. This should mean that we see some of the more unusual elements of the internet filtering to the top of searches, as well as great content that has not necessarily been designed to take on Google's search engine. 

This more human element of Google search is not without danger; it could mean that some manipulate the system to their advantage. The idea of there being a dedicated "+1 man" being hired by major companies is not unthinkable. Hence why Google told us "We'll be starting carefully and learning how those signals are related to quality".

Provided Google maintain the +1's integrity (which they no doubt will) it could be the beginning of a more human element to the search. The added bonus of +1 is that unlike Facebook 'like', it is integrated directly into the search engine. Many people may like a page on Facebook but that does not necessarily mean you are more likely to find it if you search for something relating to it. 

+1 has only been going a short while and already it is exhibiting an unusual behaviour which we are yet to see in other digg style setups. Things seem to be going '+1 viral', quickly gathering momentum across the internet. In this sense it appears Google have found the middle ground between Twitter and Facebook, creating something that easily spreads content but also helps others who haven't discovered it catch on.

What do you think? Will Google +1 bring personality to the search?