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Google+ rolls out features to help publishers build Web audience

SAN FRANCISCO — As part of its increasingly aggressive moves to get more people to use Google+ and to keep Facebook and Twitter from dominating the social networking business, Google is rolling out two new tools that it says will help authors and publishers build a bigger audience on the Web.

The first it calls "author attribution." If you sign in to WordPress.com and TypePad with Google, articles you publish will be automatically associated with your Google+ profile. That means users will see your name, picture and a link to your Google+ profile when content appears in search, news and other Google products. Google plans to expand the pilot program to other websites and apps.

The second is called embedded posts, which means you can now add public Google+ posts to Web pages. Google says the posts are interactive, meaning you can +1, comment or follow from the embedded post. Publishers can select "embed post" from the drop-down menu, copy the code and add to a Web page. The Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic are among the publishers taking part in the launch of the feature. Twitter and Facebook both already have this feature.

Google made the announcements at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.

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"We wanted to do a couple of features that we thought would empower content creators and create a great experience for people consuming that content," Seth Sternberg, a Google product management director, said in an interview.

With stiff competition from Facebook and Twitter for online advertising dollars, the features are designed to get more people to use Google+ more often.

Google is also pushing Google+ Sign-ins, which are linked directly to Google+ profiles, giving websites an easy registration system and more information about users.

Google is seeking what Facebook has in spades: information tied to people's real names about what they do online. Weaving Google+ into its various services is helping Google get this kind of information and target them with more relevant ads. The integration has helped increase Google+ usage.

Currently Google says Google+ has 190-million active users and 390-million monthly active users across Google.

Sternberg said Google+ saw a spike in users and usage over the summer.

"We have seen people take more and more to the product," he said.

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