That’s about as low key an announcement as you will ever see. To see the comments visit the post here.
As MG Siegler of TechCrunch points out
…the Google +1 Button extension allows you to “+1 a web page, anywhere you go on the web”. That’s important. You no longer have to rely on a site to implement the +1 Button, you can invoke the functionality through your browser.
Right now the button is only available for Google’s Chrome browser and there have been no indications as to when it may show up on other browsers as well.
The end game for Google is to gather data which will give them social signals for search. The description of the extension in the Chrome web store reads as follows
+1 button is shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.” Now you can +1 the pages you think are worth visiting no matter where you are on the web. +1′s can help your friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.
By installing the +1 extension, you can publicly +1 any page that you’re visiting with one easy click. You can manage your +1’s in a new tab on your Google profile (https://profiles.google.com).
***THIS ISN’T THE USUAL YADA YADA!***
Google’s use of this information is described further in the following help center article (http://www.google.com/support/profiles/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=131 9578).
By installing this extension, you agree to the Terms of Service at http://chrome.google.com/extensions/intl/en/gallery_tos.html.
Get the extension and check out all those neat privacy policies related to it. Since Google has multiple places to get different information including this one as well you may want to set aside some time to read it through to see just what you are giving to Google.
In the end the claim is that your data is used for debugging and is scrapped after about two weeks. Google can a lot with your information in two weeks time don’t you think?
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All in all, if you are concerned about privacy maybe the Internet really isn’t for you as a one time Google CEO “joked”. As we move further into the social web, however, maybe it wasn’t a joke after all. If you want to participate in these social activities you have to be willing to give up information. Since most don’t even know they are doing this then Google will win.
Of course, since most won’t even know this extension exists at all how big of a win this is is to be determined.