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Google Maps Adds Google+ Snippets (PICTURE)

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Google Maps is adding a new feature that will tie the product more closely to the company's social network, Google+.

The feature, called +snippets, lets users share data from Google Maps using an extension of the +1 sharing button. Google rolled out snippets in August and explained how they work in a post on the Google Blog: "When you share content from the +1 button, you'll notice that we automatically include a link, an image and a description in the sharebox."

Now, when you're browsing Google Maps while signed in to your Google+ account, you can click the "Share" button on the right-hand side of the Google nav bar. A dropdown menu will let you add text, choose whom from your Circles to share with and more.

A post on the Google Blog, written by VP of Product Management Bradley Horowitz, describes when and why you'd want to use this feature:

Suppose you're planning a weekend trip to Napa. Your packing list probably includes driving directions, hotel information and a list of nearby wineries. Many of you visit Google Maps for this kind of information already. But with +snippets, Google+ users can easily share directions or places (for example) with fellow travelers. Just click "Share..." in the Google+ bar at the top of the screen, and whatever you see on Maps is what you'll see in the sharebox--ready to share with your circles:

Google has been integrating elements of Google+ into its other products since the social network launched over the summer. For example, in August, YouTube began letting users watch videos together via "Hangouts," Google's group video chat feature. Earlier that month, public posts on Google+ began appearing in Google Search results.

On September 2, the search engine also axed 10 products, including Fast Flip, Desktop, Aardvark and others; less than a week later, Google announced that it had acquired restaurant and hospitality review company Zagat.

Check out screenshots (below)--courtesy of the Google Blog--showing how directions, place and searches can be shared on Google+ via Google Maps.

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