PageRank is a patent owned by Stanford University and will expire in 2017 (more info here). Google hold a one time paid license of this patent and in 2003, the exclusivity license was extended till 2011. After that period, Google’s exclusivity on PageRank will expire and license will become non-exclusive. What does that mean?
Sure, regarding the exclusivity period, as they did in 2003, they can renew that license again in 2011 and own the exclusive rights for this technology. But think about this: what about a page ranking based not (only) on an algorithm, but on explicit indications made by users? And what if this users were people that you know and trust becuse already added to your “circle of friends” on Google+ or other social networks?
Yesterday, Google launched his +1 Button extension for Chrome browser. Using it, you no longer have to rely on a site to implement the +1 Button: you can invoke the functionality through your browser.
Imagine if Facebook made their own browser and offered an extension to “Like” any page on the web through it — same idea (BTW, they will do it, sooner or later…).
As also TechCrunch notices:
Right now, the +1 Button just shares content you like on the web. But eventually, the plan is to look at this data as a way to affect Google Search itself potentially. That’s huge. The button also is starting to play a role in how Google serves up advertising to you.
Last but not least, here is what Google states in the +1 app description:
They are an advertising company. Draw your more appropriate conclusions… 😎