January 3, 2013
In a challenge to Facebook, Google is taking the controversial step of requiring people with Google accounts to join the Google+ social network, as the company tries to snag more online advertising dollars. The Wall Street Journal reports that people who create an account to use Gmail, YouTube and other Google services like online Zagat restaurant reviews are also being set up with Google+ pages that can be viewed by anyone online.
To stop Facebook from dominating the social networking business, Google Chief Executive Larry Page has pushed to get people to use Google+, the Journal reports. Facebook and Google both make most of their revenue from selling ads, but Facebook ties people’s real names to their online activities, and knows who their friends are. Google’s move to force integration of Google+ across its many properties will let it mine mounds of data about individual users’ search habits and website visits, so Google can target people with more relevant and profitable ads.
Sam Ford, a 26-year-old Navy petty officer who signed up for Google+ on his smartphone, says that “if people aren’t going to share willingly, they’ll make them share unwillingly.” Google says that requiring Google+ profiles for people to write reviews improves the quality of the critiques, and lets people see reviews by their friends. Says Google Vice President Bradley Horowitz, “The entry points to Google+ are many, and the integrations are more every day.” — Greg Beaubien