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Google+ 'Share' button added to search results

Google has introduced an experimental "Share" button that appears in place of the +1 button in English-language search results, allowing Google+ users to share and comment on website links directly with their Google+ friends.

"You can then choose if you want to share [a website link] publicly or just to your Circles and it will post to your Google+ stream, making it easier for you to share directly from the search results page," Google's Sean Liu wrote in a Google+ post.

The "experiment" directly ties together the company's search and social networking platforms more than ever before.

It's not clear how rapidly or comprehensively the new Share button is being rolled out to users in different locales. It was already populating search results for at least some UK users on 18 July. AutoTrader UK executive Berian Reed tweeted about an early sighting and posted a screen grab that was picked up by SearchEngineLand later in the day.

Google actually introduced Share for Google+ in April as a button for third-party website owners to add to their sites via code available at Google's Developers site.

At the time, Google pitched the Share button as good for content that users might want to share, but not endorse with a "+1" —such as news or controversial items.

"When your visitors come across something interesting on your site, sometimes you want to encourage a simple endorsement (like +1). Other times, however, you want to help visitors share with their friends, right away. Today's new Google+ Share button lets you do just that," Rick Borovoy, product manager for Google+, wrote in a blog post introducing the button on 25 April.