What is Google? It’s a search engine.

This is what Google means to most of the world, and they’ve been very good at it. But it’s never been enough for Google, they want to be more social, they have always wanted more friends. But history shows no one wants to play with Google, it’s still the lonely nerd sitting in the corner.

They’ve tried to buy out or join the popular kids, like Friendster, Writely, GrandCentral, Postini, Zingku, Jaiku and Aardvark. And they’ve had a crack at social applications themselves, with Picasa, Google Friend Connect, Google Lively, Google Wave, and Google Buzz. All of these acquisitions and developments, with the notable exception of YouTube, have one thing in common: they failed to live up to Google’s expectations. But Google doesn’t give up, no, not that easily. They’ve fallen in love with Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, and they want a piece of the action. In The United States, the ‘+1’ button has gone live.

From the Google search results page, Google account holders can press the +1 button on webpages and ads they like, and their selections are shared with Gmail contacts and other connections from Google’s myriad products.

Excerpt from announcement published on Google's blog

“Our goal at Google is to get you the most relevant results as quickly as possible. But relevance is about relationships as well as words on webpages.

Today we’re taking that a step further, enabling you to share recommendations with the world right in Google’s search results. It’s called +1—the digital shorthand for “this is pretty cool.” To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful. These +1’s will then start appearing in Google’s search results.

The beauty of +1’s is their relevance—you get the right recommendations (because they come from people who matter to you), at the right time (when you are actually looking for information about that topic) and in the right format (your search results)"

What do you think? Is this the start of another concerted effort from Google to create genuine competition to Facebook, or should Google just focus on making search more social? Drop a comment below…