Google isn't backing down on its social network, Google+. Instead the search giant is ramping up integration with other services. Now, if you write a blog or regularly comment on one using Blogger, you can comment using Google+.
Bloggers can turn the feature on in the Blogger Dashboard and immediately see if people are discussing their blog entries on Google+. If you're inspiring controversy elsewhere on Google+, that conversation will appear directly on your blog.
Even if you don't run a blog, the new Google+ comments will be useful. You can post comments now that only your Google+ circles can see, if you're so inclined. You can also choose to only view comments posted by people in your circles.
"In all cases, you and your readers will only see the comments you have permission to see," Google engineer Yonatan Zunger wrote in a Thursday blog postannouncing the integration. "Giving people these kinds of controls not only encourages more meaningful sharing--it can lead to more blog traffic."
Other Google+ integration moves
Google owns Blogger, so integrating its own services is far easier than partnering with other platforms to allow Google+ comments. But the company this month made headway with third-party integration, announcing that Janrain and Gigya clients' sites (which include NPR, American Idol, and Food Network UK) are now offering a Google+ sign-in option.
Google+ is the world's second largest social network after Facebook, according to a January report from Trendstream that measured social networks' monthly active users. Google's own numbers peg the network at 500 million users (as of December 2012), with 135 million of them active.
Despite the popularity of Google+, which could be tied to Gmail's pervasiveness, the network garners far less attention than its biggest competitor, Facebook.
Facebook already offers comment integration for bloggers, though privacy settings for those comments are nowhere near as customizable as those Google+ unveiled Thursday.