Pushing for Google+
Other articles by:Niti Niti
Google is challenging Facebook by requiring people to use
the Google+ social network. The result is that people who create an account to
use Gmail, YouTube and other Google services are also being set up with public
Google+ pages that can be viewed by anyone online.
Both Facebook and Google make the huge bulk of their revenue
from selling ads. But Facebook can tie people's online activities to their real
names. Also, it knows who those people's friends are. Google wants to obtain
this kind of information and target people with more relevant (and therefore,
more profitable) ads.
Google began requiring use of Google+ profiles to write
reviews to improve the quality of the critiques, which was lower when people
were able to leave reviews anonymously. The change also allows people to see
reviews by their friends. More
integration is coming every day. This
initiative shows desperate attempt to catch up to Facebook.
Links to Google+ also appear in Google search-engine results
involving people and brands that have set up a Google+ account.
The integration has helped increase Google+ usage. Last
month, 235 million people used Google+ features—such as clicking on a
"+1" button, similar to Facebook's "Like" button—across
Google's sites, up from 150 million in late June.
Users' Google+ profile pages typically include their real
names and they can add additional details. By default, the page is public and
will turn up in a Google search. It is possible, however, to change the setting
so that the page doesn't show up in search results. There is also a way for
people to deactivate or delete their Google+ accounts.
Google encourages account holders to use Google+ to share
photos and thoughts with friends or other Google+ users who share their
interests. Integrating Google+ with the rest of Google services helps users gather
more information about apps, businesses, websites, and products. Although Google doesn't reveal a user's name
to advertisers, Google uses information about the person's Web visits and
interests to help marketers target ads more accurately,
Since Google+ made its debut in mid-2011, Google has had
limited success getting people to spend time directly on the Google+ site.
Research firm comScore Inc. a year ago estimated that Google+ users spent an
average of three minutes on the site each month, versus more than 400 minutes
for the average Facebook user.