Marco Arment thinks that Google is heading down the wrong path with Google+:
But Google’s increasingly desperate push to cram Google+ down everyone’s throats hasn’t made Google+ any more relevant. It has only resulted in a lot of confused Google-account owners who inadvertently “upgraded” to Google+ while trying to do something else on a Google property, and who don’t even realize that they have this account on this social network that none of their friends use even though they all accidentally have accounts on it.
I think Marco is missing the point of Google+. As the WSJ report he links to puts it:
“Both Facebook and Google make the vast bulk of their revenue from selling ads. But Facebook has something Google wants: Facebook can tie people’s online activities to their real names, and it also knows who those people’s friends are. Marketers say Google has told them that closer integration of Google+ across its many properties will allow Google to obtain this kind of information and target people with more relevant (and therefore, more profitable) ads.”
If none of those registered users actually posted a single thing on Google+, Google would still get something out of it. Google+ is all about tying together all your activity across the web into a single, coherent identity, one where it also knows who your friends are – which, of course, Google will track as you send and receive emails, comment on blogs, and so on. If you post and “+1” things, all the better as it gives Google more data about what you like. But it’s not essential.