There is no hiding from Social Networking if you spend any time online. Most of us have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or something similar. Even when we are not actively interacting with our online friends we are enveloped by the tools. Many website now actively encourage participation and the quickest and easiest way to connect is to login to the site using your social network of choice; some information is shared and you are then part of the site.
So why are Google suddenly interested in all this? Simple, advertising.
Google were very late to the social networking market -- in fact it was only mid 2011 when they finally jumped in with Google+ as a serious offering. They have had a few attempts in the past -- Buzz and Wave to name more recent efforts. They also bought up a few social networking services but clearly nothing fitted their needs, so Google+ was born.
It’s clear that Google are serious about Plus. All their other tools are now being moulded to the same shape as G+ and integration is everything.
Google have finally realised that knowing more about you is key to their future. It’s not just about throwing targeted adverts at you based on words on a page; they need to know about you.
Facebook have 900 million users and they know everything about you. They know your name, email, where you live, etc. This is cheap data! They also know who your friends are, what you talk about, other Facebook pages you like. This information is gold and Google want, and need, it in order to continue to be the world's number one search and advertising machine.
The more Google+ is integrated into our online life the more Google can target very specific adverts. Facebook already do it to a limited degree. Google can do it much better.
By knowing your friends they can offer you adverts they think will interest you, based on your friends ‘likes’. The more you ‘Plus 1’ a page using the little red G+ icon the more Google know your interests. You see the pattern.
I’m not saying this is a bad thing, in fact if I must see adverts I much prefer them to be targeted to my interests.
Google+ has crept over 100million users in just under a year. It has a way to go before it is anywhere near the ‘power’ of Facebook but its fighting hard.
Facebook made around $3.1billion from adverts in 2011. Google took in almost the same figure for adverts on smartphones alone! In total Google’s revenue on adverts for 2011 was around $37billion.
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