Reports indicate that Google CEO Larry Page is tying employees' bonuses to the company's social success, which indicates the search giant wants to move into the social space.

Many are wondering what direction new CEO Larry Page will take Google, and recent documents obtained by Business Insider suggest that Google is going to become more social in the Page era. The source reports that Page is now tying executives' bonuses to the success of Google's social strategy for 2011.

Business Insider shares a screenshot of a confidential memo in which Page says, “We all have a stake in the success of this effort and this multiplier is designed to reflect that.” Employees not directly involved with social services will be expected to test products and provide feedback, and Page also says he wants workers to “encourage” family members and friends to try out social products, too.

Google's latest foray into the social realm is the +1 feature, which Brafton has reported allows users to recommend content on search engine results pages. A third-party site button is supposed to be released soon, which will enable marketers to encourage site visitors to “+1” content.

Google's push into the social space is understandable. ComScore's 2010 Digital Year in Review shows time spent on social sites is rapidly climbing, whereas time spent on search portals is stagnant at best. Facebook.com also eclipsed Google as the most popular site of the year.

Plus, social giant Facebook may be readying itself to move into Google's turf with search features. As Brafton has reported, the company has reorganized its search results, and its social search data patent has recently been the subject of media attention.

Search and social marketers will want to stay tuned to see what other moves Page makes to promote social media. This memo suggests there may be more social products around the corner, as does news that the company has made a bid for an aggressive patent portfolio.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.