You Can Still +1 It

On Google’s rosters, today marks the return of Larry Page as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Page previously held the position before Eric Schmidt took over in 2001. Larry Page, fellow Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and Schmidt all shared leadership duties.

Although to Google’s great — if awkwardly underplayed — chagrin it is not considered exactly a social media giant, it plays business chess with a rival who very prominently is: Facebook. And if Google’s struggling social media attempts do not position it as one, its aspirations and latent prowess certainly do.

It’s been less than a week since Google announced the gradual rolling out of +1, a tool to let Google Search users make and view recommendations alongside search results. In addition to being “digital shorthand for ‘this is pretty cool’,” +1 is also a tit-for-tat to Facebook’s Like button. Google’s version, billed as “the right recommendations, right when you want them,” is the latest effort by Google to include the apparently dispersed, but rich, social content it possesses in its search results — its best asset and what it’s truly known for.

Google has been experiencing a mixed-bag season. Most announcements of Larry Page’s taking the baton once again evidence a sort of rejoicing by company insiders. The newspapers say people believe Page will inject the “start-up feeling” again.

But the newspapers have also been busy covering the legal, political, and public relations strife that Google has recently had to face. Like having arrived at a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission about its social network Buzz, in which Google not only accepted that Buzz “violated its own privacy promises,” but also agreed to undergo “regular privacy audits” for the next 20 years. That was last week.

Today, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court published its ruling stating that Google has to take measures to ensure the anonymity of people whose faces and license plates appear in Google Street View.

But in better news, last year alone, and demonstrating the robustness of its pockets, Google paid $1.8 billion for 48 companies, Slide, a social media company, was one of them.

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