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While not surprising, the move would bring Google’s search engine into the social networking era, while simultaneously creating a new avenue for blackhats to manipulate search results and potentially incurring the wrath of trust-busting authorities.
“Google will study the clicks on +1 buttons as a signal that influences the ranking and appearance of websites in search results,” a spokesman wrote. “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.”
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:30 pm (utc) on Aug 31, 2011]