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Google Inc. is challenging Facebook Inc. by using a controversial tactic: 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—including the Zagat restaurant-review website—are also being set up with public Google+ pages that can be viewed by anyone online. Google+ is a Facebook rival and one of the company's most important recent initiatives as it tries to snag more online advertising dollars.
The impetus comes from the top. Google Chief Executive Larry Page has sought more aggressive measures to get people to use Google+, two people familiar with the matter say. Google created Google+ in large part to prevent Facebook from dominating the social-networking business.WSJ: There's No Avoiding Google+ [online.wsj.com]
Since Google+ made its debut in mid-2011, the Mountain View, Calif., company 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. In the U.S., Google+ had nearly 28.7 million unique visitors through PCs in October—well below Facebook's 149 million, comScore says.
I just don't know, strong arming people to actively participate in your social networking platform seems like a risky approach, born out of frustration.