If I told you that participating in Google+  meant  you could swiftly voice your  “+” opinion about ANYTHING to the whole world, would you think about signing up?

I bet you sure would.

And if you could add your  “+”  to Google results simply by signing up for a gmail account and a Google profile – it’s not NECESSARY for you to hangout or circle –  I bet you’d move faster.

Because, see, once you are a member of Google+, you’re able to social share your experiences right there in the Google results. I did this yesterday when I bought a new Philips toothbrush at Drugstore.com. I really liked the service and rebate on the toothbrush I bought at Drugstore.com so I gave the Google entry a “+”.

Now anyone who is a member of  Google+ will see my recommendation right there in the browser. If you are in my circles, you’ll even see my profile pic and that I recommended it. No popping into Facebook to “like” it. No having to hit the “like” button from within Drugstore.com.

Of course, I had to go back to the search engine results to + it, but I always return to the results anyway so that was no biggie for me.

So what could this mean for small, local businesses and for brands?

This could mean that you won’t have to run over to Facebook to set up a page to get people to “like” you because your terrific product or service will have a gazillion pluses and tons of personal referrals already on Google+. Undoubtedly, the friends and family gathered around you  on Facebook won’t be going anywhere. But maybe your Facebook page will evolve into something totally different, perhaps a listening tool or a place for customer service.

But if you’re not a Google+ member — no profile, no gmail — you won’t see how many pluses your brand, product or service is earning.  Wouldn’t that be a pity?

My view has shifted some since I first wrote about Google+ in late June.

Your barrier to entry on Google+ is low — your  profile and gmail. If Google’s social sharing experiment hits critical mass and Google wins, you win too. If Google+ fizzles out and Google loses, you lose too, but really you don’t lose much.

The bottom line is that one day not too long ago we had a dozen search engines boxing it out for the supreme consumer space. Google emerged triumphant, the champion, in July 2006 officially birthing the verb “googling.

It took a lot of smarts to win that boxing match  and that’s probably why I am watching Google so closely.

You might be wondering whether the plus system might be easy to game. Given Google’s track record, it shouldn’t be. But I’ll be writing about that in a post later this week.

Recent news added a jacknife twist to these swiftly evolving social media events,  Facebook changed its privacy setting yesterday to be more like Google’s. Headlines are shrieking and horns are blasting  about the battle of the titans Facebook vs Google+, Google+ vs. Facebook. Here’s an exhaustive post from Media Bistro on the privacy changes.

So what happened today? Google announced that you can import your pluses into Circles. OK. Cool.

Here’s  Google’s video on importing pluses into Circles.