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Google+ adds view counter to user profiles

Google+ may not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but it has its loyal users, who can now gauge the size of their audience with the site's new profile view counter.

Just below your Google+ profile photo, you will find your total number of followers, as well as the number of times your content—posts, photos, and profile page—has been seen by others.

Looking for some friendly competition? Check your friends' and colleagues' pages to see their total number of views, and compare popularity.

If you don't see their count, it's probably because they've chosen not to include one in their profile. To hide your own number, click the Home button, then visit Settings and Profile. Per your preference, check or uncheck the box next to "Show how many times your profile and content have been viewed."

Business users who set up a Google+ Page can also control the setting by visiting Pages and clicking Manage This Page. In the top left corner, choose Dashboard, then Settings, and scroll to Profile. Follow the same instructions to check or uncheck the view count box.

The counter is currently available on the Web and Android and iOS devices, though the ability to adjust the setting is not yet accessible via mobile.

As Google pointed out, view counts may not be exact, and aren't generally updated in real time. So if you're sending all of your friends to your Google+ page just to watch the numbers rise, you may be disappointed.

Twitter employed a similar tactic last month, when it reportedly rolled out a new iOS app feature highlighting each tweet's view count. The unconfirmed function appears to have been a sort of beta test among a small group of users.