Google acquired Meebo, a service that offered instant messaging and the called Meebo Bar, some time ago. The bar, displayed at the bottom of websites offered a variety of options to the visitor of the site. This ranged from sharing the page they are on to social networking sites, subscribing to a newsletter or subscribing to the site's RSS feed.
The bar has been displayed on a couple of sites after the shutdown, on the site of the TV show Mad Men for instance where it is used to spread the word about the show on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and of course, Google+.
Exposure on high profile sites on the other hand does not mean that regular webmasters can add the bar again to their sites. The new Meebo websites page on the official site of the service suggests however that this is the case. Webmasters can sign up to add the bar to their sites, and it seems that existing users of Meebo can use their old accounts to access the functionality again. Sites that have more than one million unique visitors per month can contact the team directly for partnership opportunities, while everyone else is limited to signing up for the Meebo bar manually.
You configure your Meebo bar on the website of the service. What you can do basically is add or remove social feeds and engagement buttons from the bar. While you can add or remove Facebook, Twitter, RSS and Stumbleupon buttons, you can't do the same for the Google+ button which is automatically integrated into the Meebo Bar and not removable.
You can add custom buttons to the bar as well that open a url that you specify in the same window or a new window.
The remaining configuration options that you have are to add another user to the account which provides that user with dashboard access, and to configure domain settings which consists of a selection of sharing sites that you can add or remove sites from.
The Meebo Bar frontpage suggests that Google plans to integrate ads into the Meebo bar at one point in time. This appears to be limited to sites with more than one million unique visitors per month though at the moment.
To summarize. The Meebo Bar is back and it is likely that you will see it spread to many different sites in a short period of time. It supposedly improves visitor interaction and the sharing of content. You can hide the bar on any given site so that it does not appear even on page reloads. I did not investigate this further, whether this is a cookie thing or something that is only valid for a short period of time.
The advertising opportunities can be interesting, even though it is not clear how that's handled. Google only mentions that the advertising won't impact the user experience.
Update: Google has announced that it will discontinue the Meebo bar from June 6, 2013 on. Check out some Meebo alternatives here in this post.
Update 2: All Meebo products are now no longer available. We have removed links as a consequence.
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