I’m a pretty big fan of Google+ —I’m actually giving a presentation about the platform tomorrow but not because I love the community and engagement and discussions happening on the social network. No, I like it because of the SEO boost I get from sharing my writings there and the awesome utility of the hangouts — which I use at least a couple times a week — I also really like the fact that unlike Facebook, Google+ doesn’t do any shenanigans with your feed, so everyone that has you circled can potentially see what you share there.
I’ve tried to be a better citizen of G+, but like so many of us, I just haven’t the time to really dedicate to making it be a part of my social media routine. You’d think Google would be worried about the low rate of user engagement with the platform, but surprisingly they’re not.
It turns out the whole goal of Google+ is to track your data. Google has apparently admitted as much, according to Clair Cain Miller at the New York Times.
“Google Plus may not be much of a competitor to Facebook as a social network, but it is central to Google’s future — a lens that allows the company to peer more broadly into people’s digital life, and to gather an ever-richer trove of the personal information that advertisers covet. Some analysts even say that Google understands more about people’s social activity than Facebook does.”
Why? It’s all about ad revenue. Traditional search advertising is decreasing on Google — but more targeted ads can bring in even more money. From the article:
“The value of Plus has only increased in the last year, as search advertising, Google’s main source of profits, has slowed. At the same time, advertising based on the kind of information gleaned from what people talk about, do and share online, rather than simply what they search for, has become more important.”
This immense amount of data tracking and the fact that Google is now requiring people to have Google+ accounts if they want to use some of their products, such as posting comments on YouTube has led to at least one anti-monopoly inquiry by the government.
But it’s clear Google+ isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and in fact, is more popular than ever.