Google, always trying to push social search (despite early missteps), has a good one here. The new +1 button, rolling out now (when you’re logged into your Google account and choose to opt into the experiment) lets searches know how popular a listing is, ala StumbleUpon’s plugin.
After speaking with Google, this is not yet affecting rankings or quality score, but they said it will. Straight from a product manager’s mouth. He couldn’t tell me when – they need to evaluate, I’m sure.
But this is a useful thing to reinforcing CTR on a brand, not to mention owning more search engine result page real estate. Thanks to social additions, my listing now pushes other sites below the fold even more than before. If I own a few top listings, I can ultimately “black out,” or push a fourth or fifth under the fold:
Is it like Facebook’s Like button? Definitely, especially since soon you’ll be able to add a +1 widget to your websites. But this has something Facebook doesn’t have… the ability to “like” something in Google results. That’s pretty big.
More info here.