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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.
Stories from the Daily Mail and the Telegraph receive the most +1 recommendations on Google+, although the Financial Times has more followers according to analysis by Searchmetrics.
A study into 13 national newspapers found that only nine of them have official G+ pages.
These papers are included in a total of 544,545 circles, with The Times, The Sun, Daily Express and Daily Star absent from the social network.
372,159 people were recorded as having the Financial Times’ G+ page in their circles - the Guardian came second with 75,255 circles and the Independent came third with 60,195.
How important is social to Google's future?
It depends on who you ask. Some believe that if Google doesn't find a way to compete in the space, Facebook might eventually eat its lunch.
Those who are a tad more skeptical suggest that Google and its advertising money machine don't need social to thrive.
Time will tell which camp is right, but Google has already decided. With the launch of Google+ and Search, plus Your World, it's clear that the search giant is committed to giving its all in an effort to become a meaningful player in the social market.
On one of the main stages today at SXSW, Guy Kawasaki held a fireside chat with Vic Gundotra to talk Google Plus. Is it really the ghost town everyone says it is?
Though Gundotra spoke enthusiastically about the number of active users - 100 million are active within every 30-day period - this accounts for users signed in, not going to the Google+ stream itself. But that shouldn't matter, Gundotra argued, as it's about the whole experience so that should be measured. Does that mean Google+ really is a ghost town and Google doesn't want to admit it?
Google+ is still a mystery to many brands, but some brave souls have been using the fledgling social platform to build a new community of brand advocates.
As of this week Cadbury has been added to more than 500,000 G+ circles, making it the most popular consumer brand on the social network.
We recently reported on its G+ product launch, but what other tactics has the confectionery brand used to build its community?
To coincide with the impending relaunch of its website, we start with a brief Q&A with Royal Bank of Scotland Group's Devang Chouhan on why G+ is a priority from a search perspective.
Google+ is growing rapidly: business pages are taking hold, and the platform is becoming a viable marketing channel for larger brands at least.
It's definitely short of room to manoeuvre when it comes to how your profile looks however. Each page is locked down to the same structure (for now), and so at the moment there's not a lot you can do.
Thinking creatively is therefore tough, in fact, it focuses almost solely around the photo strip that resembles Facebook's Timeline banner. I'm not talking features (rich content, engaging conversation and hangouts galore just about cover that), I'm talking design.
As such, we've compiled 20 examples of brands that have managed to stand out from the crowd with the little they have to work with.
If the future of the internet is social, as some believe, the long-term fate of the world's largest search engine could rest on how well its social network, Google+ does.
While it has a long way to go before it catches up to Facebook in popularity and adoption, with over 100m users, it would appear that Google is off to a decent start.
Late last week it was revealed that none other than high street fashion label H&M had become the most followed brand Google+.
The top ten was compiled by Simply Measured, based on the number of “circlers” for each brand in early February, with usual suspects Pesi, Starbucks and Burberry also making an appearance.
Though H&M's Facebook page has 9.7m Facebook fans — about 19 times the number on Google+ - it’s undoubtedly becoming a viable marketing channel.
Just what is H&M doing? And is the right way to go?
I've rounded up ten recent infographics on Google, with lots of stats, tips on searching Google, the most expensive keywords, and 2011 revenues.
Where possible, I've added the infographics to this post in a readable size, but for others you can click on the image to see a larger version...
On the day Facebook finally filed for its IPO, an analyst signalled that Google+ is slowly creeping up on the number one social network.
Google+ watcher Paul Allen estimated in a blog post that the social network has reached 100m users, an increase of 10m since Google last announced membership figures just two weeks ago.
Google may be best-known as a search engine, but with more than 350m people actively using its Gmail service and more than 90m registered users on its Google+ social network, it's clear that Google isn't just a search engine.
Increasingly, that's creating some tension as the Mountain View-based company uses search to promote its other offerings. Now, it appears that Google has turned to its signup form in its effort to boost usage of those offerings.