Google to integrate app activities into Search

App users will be able to see what's popular in a particular app. For example, Fandango users can see the top movies consumed by Google+ users.

Ardan Arac, a Google product manager, talks about the new integration of app activities with search Tuesday at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York. Shara Tibken/CNET
NEW YORK--Google plans to integrate information on app activities into its Search page, giving users insight into what peers are doing and linking Google+ more closely with Google's other offerings.

The company in February launched its Google+ sign-on service that allows Google accounts to be used when logging into third-party apps and Web sites. Users taking advantage of the Google sign-in also can instantly download the Android app version without having to turn on their phones. The move was viewed as a way for Google to weave its accounts more tightly into the fabric of the Internet and a way to push its social-networking platform.

On Tuesday, Google took that a step further. Seth Sternberg, product management director for Google+, and Ardan Arac, a product manager at Google, said the company will now integrate information it has culled from apps with the company's flagship search site.

"When we launched Google+, we said it was all about making Google one Google," Sternberg said Tuesday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York. "A user has a common identity throughout Google and a common way to share things and interact with friends...Now we're making it easy to discover what other people are doing around the Internet when they're doing a search on Google."

How the integration works is a user visiting an app signs in using his or her Google account. With the user's permission, the person's activities are sent to Google from the app and site. Google aggregates all of those activities and identifies what's popular. It then shows those results on the righthand side of its search page when a user looks up that brand.

For example, someone searching for Fandango will see what movies currently are the most popular, someone looking up SoundCloud will see what's popular and trending at that time.

The new feature will launch on desktop Search in a few weeks, Sternberg said. Initial partners include Deezer, Fandango, Flixster, Slacker Radio, Songza, SoundCloud, and TuneIn. Google noted in a blog post that it will add more apps over time.

Updated at 8:55 a.m. PT with more information and background.

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