Google Plus: Growth by Brute Force

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When Google’s new search feature “Search Plus” started favoring Google+ results several weeks ago, the change was immediately resisted by competing social networks like Twitter and Facebook. In addition to receiving negative publicity regarding the new Search Plus feature, an ongoing FTC investigation was expanded to further research the potential antitrust and privacy concerns of the new search feature. However, recent actions by Google demonstrates a firm commitment to the new feature and the Google+ social network.

During a phone call with investors last week, Google CEO Larry Page announced that Google+ has doubled in size over the past 90 days. Page also stated that the social network, which now has over 90 million users, has a high level of engagement from its users.

However, Google has been accused with artificially boosting the number of Google+ users as a result of “forcing” users to sign up for the service. Now, when a new user creates any type of Google account, the system requires that the user register a Gmail account, fill out a Google profile, and join Google+.

Google said the following regarding the recent change to the registration process:

“We hadn’t changed our Google Accounts sign-up flow in more than seven years so it was due for a refresh. We’re working to develop a consistent sign-up flow across our different products as part of our efforts to create an intuitive, beautifully simple, Google-wide user experience. Making it quick and easy to create a Google Account and a Google profile enables new users to take advantage of everything Google can offer.”

In the past, it was easy for a user to simply register for one service (i.e. Gmail) without the requirement to join Google+. In addition, the option of registering with an existing email address has now been removed.

Although Google automatically creates a Google+ account for all new users, it is easy to delete the Google+ profile in the accounts setting page.

[Sources Include: Google, ars technica, & Google Operating System]

David Angotti

David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO),... Read Full Bio
David Angotti
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  • passingbyhere

    I don’t believe this is brute force. I mean it was said since the start when Google+ launch that it would connect all your other services from doc, youtube, gmail etc. Google is giving you the option to delete your Google+ account if you want.(according to the article). Put it this way one email is all you need to check your youtube, G+, doc, email etc that would be pretty damn awesome instead of having multiple emails (unless you want to).

  • Dirty Seagull

    I think that it is force. I mean its like when Microsoft tried to push word and internet explorer on all those using windows

  • Matthew Nowlin

    They definitely don’t make it easy to opt out, though it isn’t impossible. I just created a new domain and was registering some google services for it… And it was much easier to just go with the flow.

    Of course, they’re gonna have a millions dead users. Remember when “hits” we’re the stat everyone wanted to know? Before good analytics programs? Google is going to have to define what they mean by engaged users, or that term will lose any semblance of meaningfulness.

  • Steve Hughes

    Starting to sound more and more like Microsoft. How has MSFT done the last 5 years? Exactly. The public doesn’t pay for made up fees anymore, and I sense these tactics by Google will undoubtedly backfire. A force and a conflict of interest.

  • Nirmal

    That’s their product and they have the right to offer it as a package. I don’t understand this anti-trust ooh-aah anyway. Why can’t a company act upon something which is of their own? Everything should be just OK when the user is being notified of the mandatory sign-up and the availability of a cancel button for the whole sign-up stuff.

    If you really need to use only one of their services, just opt-out from others later. It is amazing Facebook could still survive with all those privacy violations.