Google may be built on an algorithm for taming the Web, but yesterday the company added social features that will let your friends help determine what ranks high in the search results you see. The approach requires Google to know the social connections of its users—something that so far is not a core feature of the company's products or uppermost in the minds of people using them.
Google's new social tool is the +1 button, which it wants you to click to signal which search results and Web pages you appreciate. The button will appear alongside every page listed in search results, and later on sites across the Web (enable +1 on your account now here). Your +1 clicks will be used to boost the ranking of that page in the results friends see. To Google, "friends" means people you are connected to by the company's e-mail or instant-messaging service or its Twitter clone Buzz. The new +1 service will eventually appear on other Google products like Maps and YouTube, says Google.