Still, in an email to Wired, a Google rep writes: "Google will study the clicks on +1 buttons as a signal that influences the ranking and appearance of
Websites in search results." The purpose, according to Google? "To improve overall search quality," its rep writes. "For +1's and other social ranking signals, as with any new ranking signal, we'll be
starting carefully and learning how those signals are related to quality."
As Wired warns: "These plans are a touchy subject for the search giant, especially given the scrutiny that Google is under from regulators in Washington and Europe over complaints that the company's results favor its own products over those of other companies."