The changing face of Google is evidence of much larger changes “behind the scenes.”

In addition to Google’s new places pages, you will now see new evidence that Google is interested in tracking and measuring social following as part of their search algorithm. Their +1 button pops up when you are logged in with your google account, but doesn’t work the same as Facebook’s “like.” It’s not as simple or clear how it works really, and that alone makes it stumble.

But what it does do is show that Google is very interested in tapping into the social dimension of the web. And they are still experimenting.

So what does this mean for your business?

Now there’s the bottom line.

What does it mean that Google takes seriously the social aspect of the web? Well, you can be sure that they are working hard to tap into this powerful propensity of people to communicate and share. Plus they are looking at the trends that show the real way people are tapping into this “dark energy” of the internet, is through their mobile devices. So naturally, they are getting their infrastructure ready to tap into this mobile trend. And you can be sure that we will see more evidence of this in the coming months.

But for now, this video from Google updates us on some of what they have been doing, and if we would but extrapolate out a little, we might see where Google sees it can shape the way things are moving. The image in my mind is of how we might direct a flow of water down a hill. There is little Google or anyone can do to stem the flow, but we can get it to “accomplish” different things on the way down. Possibly even energize and fuel not only Google but other businesses too much as water coming down the Hoover Dam can light LA.

And of course, where Google puts its attention and energies will influence our experience of the web and will impact how we go about doing our business in the coming months and years. So yes, it doesn’t hurt for the marketer in us to be aware of trends and focus. This may not be a crystal ball, but it can shed a little light.

In addition to pondering the ramifications…

Meanwhile, as Google and facebook busy themselves with building their futures, here are two things you can do to shape yours:

1. Add +1 to your own site

If your site is on WordPress, all you need to do is search for a +1 plugin.  If you don’t, just click here to get the code you need to add to your website, it’s pretty simple.

2. Put a wager on who is going to win the war

Well, if it really is a war, it’s going to be a tough call. Google does search well, but it hasn’t done social so well—remember Google Buzz?  Google Wave?  Those experiments did not fare as well as facebook’s likes.  Facebook on the other hand owns social media.  Now if Google puts more weight on +1 over likes… and what else? Sorry,my crystal ball is not that clear!