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A post to Google+ that includes a link renders a preview, or snippet, that contains the page title, a brief description of the page, and a thumbnail image. These pieces of data are extracted from the shared URL's content in one of four ways, listed in order of precedence:

Your use of the snippet code is subject to the Google Terms of Service.

1. Schema.org microdata (recommended)
If the page is annotated with schema.org microdata, the +Snippet will use the name, image, and description properties found on any schema.org type.
<body itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">
  <h1 itemprop="name">Shiny Trinket</h1>
  <img itemprop="image" src="{image-url}" />
  <p itemprop="description">Shiny trinkets are shiny.</p>
2. Open Graph protocol
If the page contains Open Graph properties for the title, image, and description, they will be used for the +Snippet.
<meta property="og:title" content="..." />
<meta property="og:image" content="..." />
<meta property="og:description" content="..." />
3. Title and meta "description" tags
If the page's <head> element contains <title> and <meta name="description" ... /> tags, the +Snippet uses the title and the content attribute of the description meta tag for the snippet description. For the thumbnail image, the sharebox attempts to find a suitable image on the page.
<meta name="description" content="..." />
4. Best guess from page content (not recommended)
If none of the previous data is present, Google parses the page and attempts to find the best title, description, and image.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I validate my +Snippet markup?

You can use the Structured Data Testing Tool to verify your +Snippet markup.

When you run this tool on your web page it will provide a detailed report on all of the structured data markup on that page, including the markup used by +Snippet.

I have multiple schema.org itemscopes on my page. Which one will the +Snippet use?

If multiple schema.org itemscopes are defined on your page, the +Snippet is created from the itemscope that is nearest the top of your page's source code. For example, if you have itemscopes defined on both the body element and a div element defined below the start body tag in your page, the +Snippet is created from the itemscope associated with the body element.

Why isn't my +Snippet image appearing?

Images that are too small or not square enough are not included in the +Snippet, even if the images are explicitly referenced by schema.org microdata or Open Graph markup. Specifically, the height must be at least 120px, and if the width is less than 100px, then the aspect ratio must be no greater than 3.0.

How do I get my web page content to render with a full-bleed image and a description when users share it on Google+ using a URL?

See Article Rendering for more information.

What is the user agent of snippet fetcher?

When a user shares a URL on Google+ or an app writes an app activity, Google+ attempts to fetch the content and create a snippet to provide a summary of the linked content.

Your web server will see a request with the user agent containing the following text: Google (+https://developers.google.com/+/web/snippet/).

This service is different than the Googlebot that crawls and indexes your site. These requests do not honor robots.txt or other crawl mechanisms because this is a user-initiated request.

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