Here's what Google +1 offers (or doesn't):
- +1 to make Search Results more Relevant - or so they say. Aside from being a copy of Facbook's 'Like' button, there isn't much to Google +1. Just Facebook, you can see your friends recommendations after you sign in.
- Affects on Search Rankings - Highly unlikely! Google "might" incorporate +1 recommendations in the search results in the future but it's not happening any time soon. And when it does, who do you think would jump at the opportunity the most? SEOs of course! And then there will be another story of SEO spamming etc etc.
- Incorporating Twitter Results - Google said no to that already! They're already showing Twitter results through their search engine, you think they're crazy to give Facebook and Twitter all the credit? :P
- Flickr Recommendations - While it's not visible now, but Google says that it will use data from Flickr for its +1 recommendations.
- Third Party Effects on Search Results - When Google considers Twitter and Facebook in its search results, it's sure to take direct recommendations from its very own +1, but that's for future use they say.
What Google is Doing
- Competing with Facebook - LOL! Google is known for this, aren't they? I think they believe in the philosophy... If you can't beat em, join em ;) Has to be so, since Google has the habit of buying anything that shows even a bit of competition and when they can't do that, they try and compete. Just like they 'tried' to do so with Twitter by launching the (oh-so-failed) Buzz.
- Trying for a Google Community - Millions of users stay logged in to Facebook 24/7, and with a good reason too. Facebook is highly interactive and has a lot to offer. Who would want to stay online on Gmail all this time? Unless you're a crazy SEO... I can already hear collective whines!
- Effects on SEO - Since Google announced that it will consider +1 recommendations in the search results and it's likely to effect site rankings, don't you think that will create a mass black hat out break? Well they are calling for it! People can easily create so many Gmail accounts, log in and +1 their sites. Or ask their friends and family to do that same from their dozens of accounts. How is that going to help with authentic results?
Sometime I wonder if Google even thinks before launching stuff like this or maybe they just do it for the sake of competition!