As previously reported, some sites have been spotted using the new Google Plus-ified version of the Meebo bar. Google acquired Meebo earlier this year, and the bar was the only product from Meebo kept alive. It is now clear to me why this was a particularly good pick up for Google.
Simply put, the Google+ version of the Meebo bar is a way to keep people engaged with Google+ when they're anywhere else on the web (at least any site that actually uses the bar). Sure, the bar lets users easily share content to Google+ rivals Facebook and Twitter, but the key is in that red square - the notification box.
I've been using Google+ since launch. There's a lot to like about it, but if I said it was a network I was using to connect frequently to a majority of my personal relationships, I'd be lying both to you and to myself. One thing (perhaps the thing above all else) that does keep me coming back is that red square with the number in it. I'm not the type to let the number run up without checking in on my notifications as I see them. It helps when it's plastered to the top of the screen across the various Google products I use day to day, like Google Search, YouTube, Google Drive, Gmail,Google Calendar, and Google Reader. It's almost impossible to ignore.
What the Meebo bar can do is add that "impossible to ignore" factor to sites that aren't operated by Google. It's a smart move by Google.
I can't speculate as to how many sites will actually utilize the bar, but since I covered it last time, I've noticed it on a few more sites. I just noticed on SFGate.com, when the whole thing dawned on me. It's a subtle, yet obvious thing. Google can already reach so many users with these notifications on its own products, but with the Meebo bar, the only limits are those of adoption by publishers.