Google introduces content recommendation engine for mobile sites


Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is rolling out a new content recommendation engine designed to help mobile websites deepen reader engagement and loyalty.

Google+ Content recommendations

Google will suggest content that was +1'd by the people in a user's circles.

Leveraging elements of Google Search and the Google+ social media platform, the new service suggests content based on the specific page the mobile visitor is currently viewing, a move to boost the relevance of recommendations. Content suggestions appear only when the user taps their device screen for more information, guaranteeing an uninterrupted browsing experience.

"Recommendations can appear regardless whether your visitors are signed in to Google. But when they are, they'll see content that was +1'd or shared by the people in their circles," explains Google+ Product Manager Mario Anima. "We're also making it easy to add and configure these content recommendations. Just add a single line of JavaScript to your mobile website, and from there you can make changes in the 'For your site' section of your Google+ page dashboard--no Web editor required."

Google is introducing the new recommendation engine in partnership with Forbes, which credits mobile devices for generating 30 percent of all traffic across its digital platform. "Our Forbes mobile site is optimized via HTML5 with a Google Ads 'sticky' banner at the bottom of each page," said Forbes Senior Vice President of Product Development and Video Andrea Spiegel. "The Google team tested various design and UX options, making sure the recommendation would play nicely with any 'sticky' ads. Partners can set the trigger for recommendations; in our case, we selected 'when the user scrolls up' as the trigger. That means the ad animates out and the recommendation swaps in only when the reader scrolls back up the page. Recommendations include popular Forbes authors and content if you are not logged into Google in the mobile browser."

Anima said Google is planning to develop more services and experiences based on the Google+ platform, citing data from Guardian Product Manager Tom Grinstead, who notes that Google+ Sign-In is the most popular social sign-in method on the publisher's Android application, accounting for 41 percent of all social sign-in users.

Google+ launched in mid-2011. The platform rivals Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) by giving users the flexibility to selectively share materials with friends and family sorted into circles. Research firm Global Web Index reports Google+ active usage grew 27 percent in 2012 to 343 million and now ranks as the second-largest social platform worldwide.

For more:
- read this Google+ Developers Blog post
- read this Forbes article

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