With more users clicking that little “+1″ icon to signal their approval for a website or post, Google is reportedly exploring the idea of using +1s to influence search rank. The idea has appeal: +1s add an element of crowdsourcing to search results that can make them more accurate and give Google a competitive weapon against Bing, which accesses Facebook “likes” as part of its rankings.
The problem is antitrust laws. Once website owners realize that +1s can help their search rankings, the pressure to add these icons will be intense. Indeed, a recent Forbes.com post suggesting they had better do exactly that “Or Your Search Traffic Suffers” may have hit a little too close to home.
Read more at Wired.