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Thanks to the rise of the social web, some of the most valuable content on many websites isn't created by their owners - it's created by the users in the form of comments.
When it comes to providing the functionality that enables users to comment, third parties often play a key role.
That's because instead of rolling their own commenting functionality, many website owners turn to companies like Facebook and Disqus, which have carved out a niche for themselves by offering commenting functionality that can be enabled with a few lines of code.
That changed late last year, but apparently indexing comments posted using Facebook and Disqus isn't enough.
With Google putting all of its weight behind Google+ and social, the search giant is reportedly prepping its own commenting platform that website owners can use to power comments on their sites.
According to TheNextWeb's Nancy Messieh:
Google is about to launch a new commenting system that will tie into the search giant’s Google+ platform, web services and web search.
While Google hasn't yet made an official announcement, Messieh says her source is involved with the commenting platform's development and that it is being designed to "rival that of Facebook".
For website owners looking to ensure that their user-generated content is easily accessed by Google, the company's new offering may be very appealing as it "will have deep links to Google’s network of services and websites, indexing comments in Google Search".
Though it's unlikely that Google will stop indexing comments posted on websites using rival platforms, the companies move may raise concerns similar to those raised when it announced Search, plus Your World.
Could, for instance, Google give greater prominence in the SERPs to comments posted using its comments platform?
And will it provide search functionality that makes it easier to search and browse the comments it handles, leaving website owners using rival offerings at a disadvantage?
If TheNextWeb's source is correct, we may soon have answers to these questions. In the meantime, website owners can only assume that in its effort to crack social, Google will continue to make aggressive moves that involve both carrots and sticks.