Google+ Plugs In SoundCloud for Its 343 Million Users (Exclusive)

Google+ is slowly but surely catching up to Facebook. The social network, by some metrics considered to be the second-largest after Facebook, has integrated SoundCloud's audio embeds, the two companies announced Monday. 

SoundCloud in May allowed its 40 million users to sign in using their Google+ accounts. Now, Google is returning the favor by letting its 343 million active Google+ users embed SoundCloud tracks, making SoundCloud the first third-party developer to plug in playable audio within the social network. Previously, listeners clicking on a SoundCloud link in Google+ were diverted away from the page to wherever the track was embedded.

To kick off the new feature, a handful of artists have embedded tracks into their Google+ pages, including Armin van Buuren, Snoop Lion and Pearl Jam. Van Buuren is debuting an exclusive premiere snippet of "Beautiful Life" (Kat Krazy Remix), featuring Cindy Alma. Pearl Jam is posting "Mind Your Manners," the first single from their new record, "Lightning Bolt." And Snoop is embedding "The Good Good."

"We want SoundCloud creators to be heard everywhere," said Manolo Espinosa, SoundCloud's Vice President of Platform."A critical part of that strategy is strengthening relationships with key technology leaders such as Google+. This integration makes it easier for creators to build an audience and share their sounds."

The arrangement teams up two of the world's fastest growing social networks. Based in Berlin, Germany, SoundCloud tripled its plays per artist in 2012 compared to a year earlier, according to Next Big Sound's annual State of Online Music report. It 40 million active creators reach more than 200 million listeners a month.

Meanwhile, Google+ has racked up half a billion registered users and 343 million active users, according to a report from GlobalWebIndex, making it the world's second largest social network after Facebook.

Google+ is catching up to Facebook, not just in user numbers, but also in functionality. For example, Facebook, which counts 1.1 billion active monthly users, already integrates audio embeds from SoundCloud.