Google continues to increase the reach of its Google+ platform, and today the company is launching a new mobile content recommendation service powered by Google+. These recommendations will appear as small widgets at the bottom of the screen as users browse a news site that has enabled this service. Google’s launch partner for this service is Forbes, but others can implement these recommendations by just adding a single line of code to their mobile sites. Recommendations, Google says, can appear regardless of whether users are signed in to Google+.
As Seth Sternberg, Google’s product manager for the Google+ platform told me last week, the team set out to create an “awesomely seamless experience to find more content” on the mobile web. On mobile sites, he argues, publishers often see high bounce rates because users have a hard time finding interesting additional content to read on a site once they have finished reading an article.
These recommendations, Sternberg told me, are based on social recommendations on the site from your friends on Google+ (only if you are signed in, of course), what the story you just read was about, the story’s author and some of Google’s “secret sauce.”
The new Google+-based recommendations, interestingly, only appear once a reader slides back up on a page. This, Google’s analytics show, is a pretty good indicator that a user has finished reading a post (even if there is still more text left on the page). The recommendation widget then slides up from the bottom and one extra click brings up more relevant items for the page. The other option is to show the widget after a user scrolls past a configurable CSS entity.
Publishers will be able to manage the recommendations widget from their Google+ publisher accounts. From there, they can decide when exactly the widget should appear and manage a list of pages where the widget shouldn’t appear, as well as a list of pages that should never appear in recommendations.