“It’s the Network, Stupid!”–Google Plus is Hook to Net Users

Former President Clinton’s campaign advisors used to say,”It’s the economy, stupid!” to focus the 42nd president’s campaign message to Americans. Fast forward to 2014 and Google is updating that to the social network in its efforts to reel in Google users and add them to their already huge trove of data.

How is Google Plus able to do this, you ask?

Once you sign up for Plus, it becomes your account for all Google products, including Gmail, YouTube, and maps no matter if you never use Plus. It’s like your ID. Once you you sign up for it, it lets Google identify all your digital actions. Before, without Plus, Google might not have recognized you.

Google says Plus “gives you the opportunity to be yourself,” says Bradley Horowitz, vice president for product management for Google, pictured above.

Remember, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you?”

For example, if you want to comment on a YouTube clip, you must register on Plus.

Why is Google doing this? Advertising is why. The more Google can share with an advertiser, the more the advertiser can know about you and the more Google can charge and the advertiser potentially glean about your interests.

Is the information intrusive? Depends. Do you care if Google knows everyone who you correspond to on gmail? And which Web sites you visit?

Google goes out of its way for brand placement on Plus as well. If Starbucks joins (and they have), Plus gives them prime placement on the right-hand side of search results. Starbucks already has 3 million followers on Plus (vs. 36 million on Facebook) but Starbucks is happy with Plus. It helps their search efforts, Starbucks says. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the new digital age acronym for visibility. You can’t visit us if you don’t know we’re there, they say.

Is the government concerned? Yes, the Federal Trade Commission has raised the issue but found no wrongdoing.

Are you concerned?

Here’s Mark Landler’s and Jonathan Weisman’s excellent piece in the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/technology/the-plus-in-google-plus-its-mostly-for-google.html?_r=0

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