Facebook's 'Like' button has had a good solo run across the Web, but this week Google provided some company with the general release of +1. Meanwhile, the Internet giant and China are once again at odds, and a geeky trio of unlikely partners was formed for the greater good of microdata. 

Google Extends +1 Button Functionality to Websites

Buttons, buttons everywhere! Just a day after news of Twitter's Follow button broke, Google's announced that the +1 button will be available on partner websites.

Since March, Google's +1 button has allowed users to recommend content to their friends and contacts directly from Google search results and ads. But now the whole Web gets the button, and select publishers and site owners can embed the button on their sites.

On partner sites the button's functionality is similar to the way you interact with a Facebook's famous Like button. When you see a +1, you can recommend a product, article, or other content to your friends by clicking it. Then, when your Google connections search for related content, they will see your +1’s in their search results:

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According to Google''s official announcement:

+1 is as simple on the rest of the web as it is on Google search. With a single click you can recommend that raincoat, news article or favorite sci-fi movie to friends, contacts and the rest of the world. The next time your connections search, they could see your +1’s directly in their search results, helping them find your recommendations when they’re most useful.

(Our full article here.)

Google Email Compromised

Earlier this week Uncle G announced that it had been the victim of a phishing attack originating in China. Although software security was not breached, Google says human hacking allowed attackers to obtain personal e-mail accounts of hundreds of US officials, military personnel and journalists.

This is not the first time that Google and China have had issues. The relationship has long been distressed. Earlier in the year a break-in also originating in China, prompted Google to move its search engine to Hong Kong, which isn't subject to Bejing's rules, to avoid content censoring by the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China is firmly opposed to activities that sabotage Internet and computer security. The spokesman added that they could not have possibly been involved because they too had been hacked.

(Our full coverage here.) 

Google, Microsoft & Yahoo Sitting in a Tree, Standardizing Microdata

It seems that even giants like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo can get over their differences when it's mutually beneficial. The trio collectively announced that they will be partnering under the schema.org banner, a resource designed to standardize microdata.

Essentially, microdata consists of tags that can be applied to existing information on a website in order to tell a search engine know what kind of data it is.

The tags are obviously handy, but time consuming when it comes to actually adding them. This is where Schema.org comes in, as it provides a standardized collection of tags and schemas that webmasters can add to their pages to make them more recognizable by search engines, and therefore more findable by consumers.

(Our full coverage here.) 

Big, Beautiful Images

It is now even easier to find images in your Google search results. Images now appear in a tiled layout, with hover previews that give users a larger thumbnail and more information about a particular image:

 

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Additionally, if your search indicates that you are looking for a photo (e.g. "pictures of cats"), Google will display more images on the results page, like so:

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The feature is out now, and you can check it out for yourself by hitting up the mighty Google search engine